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… For a Sunday Working Man’s club it would be really ridiculous prices, something like sixty-five pounds for two spots. Sixty-five pounds for two spots. And then you have to pay for a driver, which would be about fifteen pounds. If it’s out of Newcastle it’s twenty pounds, and if you have a drink whilst at the event then your money’s gone… Simone

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Colophon

Acknowledgements Garry Sykes, Andrew Stevenson, Suzanne Campbell Young, the Dragon God Akatosh, Hope Rudd, Jodie Rowe and Rachael Melanson, the academic and technical staff of the University of Brighton, and all those who invited me into their homes, gave me cups of tea and allowed me to pry into their lives. Words Elisabeth Oswell Design Michaeloswell Graphicdesigner Typefaces Akzidenz Grotesk, Calvert Calvert was designed by Margaret Calvert in 1980, and is used throughout the Tyne & Wear Metro system. Copyright Elisabeth Oswell 2012

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Two Spots Sixty-Five

Documenting the agency striptease industry in the North-East of England

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Contents

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Introduction
1 Past Works Hure, 2011 Liminality and the Voice Visualising the Human Voice: Choral Walk 2 Two Spots Sixty-Five Introduction Research and Contemporary Social Contextualisation Methodology Interview Documentation Installation Documentation 3 Appendix Andy Blondie Emily Frankie Frankie & Jeremy Lauren Maria Simone Suzanne Phone Call with John P Photographs from JJ’s Bar

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31 33 37 43 79 95 101 111 119 127 141 154 168 173 187 189

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Introduction

This book documents the process of the project Two Spots Sixty-Five. Two Spots Sixty-Five emerged out of a desire to document the Agency Striptease industry in the North-East of England, an industry in which I worked as a teenager living in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This book documents my journey back to the North-East ten years on, visiting venues and interviewing people involved in the industry, and the subsequent creation of a Sound and Film Installation using the material gathered for my BA Hons Music and Visual Arts Degree show in May 2012.

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Section 1 Past Work

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Hure, installation view 2011

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Hure, 2011

Hure is a sound installation made for the University of Brighton Group Exhibition in spring 2011. The viewer enters through a curtain into a small, dimly lit room. From the ceiling is suspended a pair of headphones through which a voice can be heard recounting personal stories and experiences of prostitution. The voice belongs to ‘Abbygail of Brighton’, a 27 year old woman who used to work as Brighton’s most popular escort. The only light in the room comes from a white screen mounted on the wall displaying Abbygail’s online reviews from the Escorting website where she advertised herself.

The binaurally recorded interview gives the impression that Abbygail’s voice is speaking directly to you, and each person listening becomes the other part of the conversation. The intimacy of the binaural recordings reflects the intimate set up of the interviews, and the intimate nature of Abbygail’s work, which involved inviting customers into her home. Abbygail’s upbeat positive tone is
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Still from Hure 2011

juxtaposed with the flashing of Abbygail’s online reviews and scores out of ten from hundreds of previous customers. These reviews are often explicit and intensely objectifying, creating a dialogue between Abbygail’s perception of her empowerment through her work, and the reduction of her to a reviewable and rate-able ‘product’ by her previous customers. The reviews loop at a different speed from the interviews, meaning that each person experiencing Hure will leave with a unique glimpse of Abbygail’s experience. The interview process consisted of interviewing Abby in her own home with a voice recorder, so as not to interrupt the natural flow of her recollections. Although my process of gathering information was ethnographic in nature, the whole process was designed to make Abby feel as comfortable as possible. I wanted to stay away from making any kind of spectacle of Abby. One of the reasons I was able to have such an open conversation with Abby was because she knew about my past work as a stripper. Due to my involvement in the sex industry, she felt more able to be candid about her feelings and views on sex work. This sense of equality between artist and subject is something I have taken forward in my work since Hure. The minimalist display of Abbygail’s experiences was chosen specifically to counteract the sensationalism which I feel usually comes with the depiction of prostitution. Prostitution has been glamourised in various ways; prostitutes are depicted as exotic high-flying concubines, or as victims of circumstance, forced to the margins of society.
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Nancy and Ed Kienholz Hoerengracht 2011

Nancy and Ed Kienholz’ piece Hoerengracht is a sculptural reproduction of Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Body-cast sculptures of women in their small neon-lit fully-kitted out rooms makes viewers ‘voyeurs’, who then have to peer in to the lives of the Amsterdam prostitute from a safe distance. The distance created in Hoeregracht ensures that the prostitute could never be ‘one of us’, keeping these women marginalised. Hoerengracht is confronting and uncomfortable, bringing an awareness to the viewer of the deep objectification of these women sitting in windows advertising themselves. However it ultimately serves to keep the prostitute separate because the depictions are so obviously not human, they are just sculpted mannequin-like images. By choosing a minimal set up and binaural recording, I wanted to give Abbygail a human voice, removing the space between the listener and Abbygail. Hearing the grain and timbre of her voice so closely, we can’t help to see her as human. Abbygail’s strong Brighton accent reminds us that she could be any woman we pass on the street, she could even be in the gallery. As such, Abbygail’s humanity become linked to ours. Through Hoerengracht we feel the atmosphere,
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see the details of the prostitute’s room, but nothing about the installation humanises these women, allowing us to keep an emotional distance, which enforces a limited perception of these women as marginal. Through Hure, we are reminded of the liminal, transformative nature of doing such a marginal job. Abbygail’s voice has the grain of a woman whose attitude towards life, sex, and love has become transformed through her experience of working within the sex industry.

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Liminality and The Voice

The theme of marginality and the voice explored within Hure has continued within the work and experiments I have done since. For my University dissertation I wrote about the connection between the human voice and the anthropological concept of liminality. Through research I theorized that the voice is inherently liminal, and I was inspired to explore its transience. Writer and broadcaster Anne Karpf wrote in her book The Human Voice; Story of a Remarkable Talent: ‘the moment you try to describe them, voices seem to evanesce. Made out of breath, they’re equally vital and unsubstantial’. I also looked at the work of French semiotician Roland Barthes, he wrote about the voice coming from deep inside ‘the cavities, the membranes’ of the body. This research led me to consider the human voice as unique and as transient as the body that produces it. The practice of recording the voice (which as a singer is central to my creative life), could be a way of attempting to capture and make threedimensional something that in its essence is ephemeral. My practice of recording interviews with individual’s life experiences could be seen as a way of solidifying their voices both physically through the materiality of the sound through the headphones, and metaphorically in the sense of giving voice to experiences that often don’t have a space to be heard in mainstream society.

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Visualising the Human Voice: Choral Walk

The creation of Hure and my dissertation research brought me to reflect and experiment with the themes of liminality and marginality in a visual sense. I had enjoyed making a piece that was very voice-based, but I wanted to begin to incorporate a stronger visual element in to my work. In Autumn 2011 I became fascinated by the prospect of creating a visual representation of the human voice. This came from a desire to visualise what Julia Kristeva calls the ‘chora’, all that is present within the voice that is not signifying language; the parts of our voice that express to the person we are speaking to something beyond simply the words we say. The common phrase ‘I’m fine thanks’ could take on many different meanings depending on the timbre, pitch and tempo of the voice speaking it. I looked in to various methods of visualization of the voice, such as Cymatics; and the work of artist Nick Laessing who created Voice Figures, an exhibition of Eidophones based on Margaret Watts Hughes 1800s invention to visualize the voice. After some messy experiments with latex, flour and a tube, I decided to approach this project from a less literal point of view. Through using 120 mm film, multiple exposure, and darkroom processes, I began working with layers to create photographic texture and grain that mirror the texture and grain of the voice. I did this intuitively by listening to my recorded voice whilst taking photographs, and whilst working in
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the dark room. The result is a series of images called Choral Walk that are abstractly layered, fragmented, and ethereal; everyday sights such as trees and fish in a pond become ghostly imprints amongst the intense palette of greens and pinks.

Nick Laessing, Voice Figures 2011

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Choral Walk I 2011

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Choral Walk I I 2011

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Choral Walk I I I 2011

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Choral Walk I V 2011

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Choral Walk V 2011

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Choral Walk V I 2011

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The intuitive photographic method I developed through Choral Walk brought me to reflect on experimental film, particularly the films of early1980s Irish filmmaker Vivienne Dick. I became fascinated by the dialogue between reality and fantasy in her film Liberty’s Booty the gritty, everyday reality of downtown New York prostitutes is interspersed with ambiguous sequences of performance and abstract experimental camera work that utilizes light and texture to create psychological tension. German expressionist Cinema, and the films of Dario Argento also use light, camera techniques, and slow purposeful movements to garner a psychological response from the viewer, which links directly to the aesthetic of my photography.

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Vivienne Dick, Stills from Liberty’s Booty 1979

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Section 2 Two Spots Sixty-Five

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Production stills from Two Spots Sixty-Five 2012

Production still from a day’s filming in Whitley Bay. Here I am speaking to a bouncer outside a Whitley Bay bar who were hosting a regular saturday daytime strip event. The juxtaposition of the strip venue with the Spiritualist church brings up strong questions of location. Location is a vital theme of the work Two Spots 65. The stripping industry in the North East is integrated in to everyday society through the fairly centralised location of the venues who employ agency strippers, but like a Spiritualist Church these venues still exist as marginal, liminal spaces, unfrequented and overlooked by the majority of local people. (See appendix, Phone Call with John P)
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Introduction to Two Spots Sixty-Five

Two Spots Sixty-Five came from a desire to build on the work I explored in Hure through the collection and display of the experiences of the lives of those impacted by the sex industry, in order to marry this with reflection’s upon my own personal experience of the striptease agencies in the North East of England. I became inspired by documentaries that followed the lives of marginalised individuals; Liberty’s Booty which I mentioned earlier in Section 1, and in particular the film Paris Is Burning. Paris Is Burning is a film that documents the New York ballroom scene of the late-1980s/early-1990s, whereas Liberty’s Booty is much more fluid in its portrayal of the women involved in Lower East Side prostitution. Vivienne Dick never names the women she interviews, and we do not ever go deeply in to lives or feelings of those involved but more the communal experience. Paris Is Burning really focuses on the individuality of each character and their dynamic within the New York drag ball scene. Location is vital to both these films. They provide a snapshot of not only a time, but also a distinct place. The accents of those interviewed locate the films from the first scene onwards. Location is vital theme of Two Spots Sixty-Five. Two Spots Sixty-Five was conceived out of personal experience. It transcends the personal through the eventual involvement of others whose experiences echo and build upon my own. It can take physical and emotional distance to be able to see our experiences clearly. My experience of a
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being a stripper in the North East of England when I was a teenager felt perfectly normal, but looking back on it ten years later I understand that I didn’t yet have the insight or the self-awareness to objectively see the social and political implications of my situation. Whatever my feelings on the subject now, I felt that documenting my own experiences and putting my opinion in to the work was not ultimately relevant.

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Jennie Livingston, Stills from Paris Is Burning 1990

Research and Contemporary Social Contextualisation of Two Spots Sixty-Five

Prior to beginning Two Spots Sixty-Five I chose to do some research into the striptease industry in the North East of England. The striptease agency operates in the same way as perhaps a singer, magician, or performer’s agency might operate. An exploitative form of entertainment appears to have attached itself to an already existing model; a performer will use an agent who has a network of contacts within social clubs or pubs, and that agent will provide work for the individual in exchange for commission. Since it had been ten years since my personal involvement I wasn’t sure if any kind of industry still existed. I was aware that lapdancing clubs had opened in the centre of Newcastle and thought that this could have caused the Agency striptease industry to stop. I began research by looking online, and found that in the age of the camera-phone there were quite a few videos of striptease events in the North East. This was new to me. Photography was strictly prohibited when I was working. It seems reflective of the mainstream media’s growing obsession with the sexualised female form that women not only allowed themselves to be filmed, but seemed from the videos to actively encourage and enjoy it. With youtube, everyone can be a star. During the making of Two Spots Sixty-Five I was contacted by the chief executive of Object, an organisation working to challenge the increased sexual objectification of women who heard about my project and wanted me to become involved in
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their campaign Stripping the Illusion, which is working to stop the glamourisation of Lapdancing a close cousin of striptease. In the Stripping the Illusion lapdancing fact sheet they write that although sexual power can’t get you equal pay, equal representation and an equal voice, the porn industry has saturated culture to the degree that women see that stripping off and posing to satisfy men is a key way to empower themselves. This is clear when you see how many women have allowed themselves to not only be filmed whilst stripping, but also to have those films posted to the internet. One video called ‘Lee vs The Stripper’ strikes me as particularly interesting. The process of the striptease in this video seems to be ritualistic in nature. In Ndembu ritual degradation (transformation) of an adolescent is sanctioned by the parents of the adolescent and by the community. In the video ‘Lee vs the Stripper’ we see a strip event for a boy’s 18th birthday that took place in the Roshill Working men’s Club in Wallsend, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The video shows the boy sitting on a chair in the middle of a cleared dance floor surrounded by both female and male party-goers. A woman who I presume to be the boy’s mother speaking to a girl dressed in a schoolgirl costume, she retreats and the girl stands beside the boy’s chair. He sits still with his legs wide open. The girl seems awkward in the moments before the music comes on, and pulls at her skirt. She makes dramatic motions to signal shyness to
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the audience. As soon as the music starts she jumps and straddles the boy sitting on the chair, and begins to grind furiously. The boy’s mum cheers and takes photos. When she gets off the boy’s chair and goes down to her g-string she lies and begins to grind the floor in front of him. The boy’s mother jokingly goes to cover his eyes. The girl proceeds to make the boy lie on the floor while she rubs herself up and down his body, finally sitting on his face. She then gets off him, takes his shirt off and begins to lead him with his belt around the room like a dog, she then rides him, and finally he rises up and she kneels at his feet gyrating towards him. The boy throws his arm in the air in a triangular victory pose, while the girl gets up and walks away. This signals the end of the striptease.

Victor Turner writes about the liminal (transformative) phase of Ndembu ritual as containing grotesque, crude elements, but it is clear that for the Ndembu tribe these elements serve the
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purpose of subverting the symbolic order of reality in order to catalyse transformation of the individual involved in the ritual. Relating this to the video described above, Lee’s transformation from boyhood to adulthood appears to be marked by a symbolic victory over female sexuality. Having used her sexual power to coerce Lee in to lie on the floor, remove his shirt, and be led around on a leash, the stripper ends her dance in a submissive pose at his knees while Lee stands holding his arms up in a victory pose. There is an intriguing, unnerving dimension to this kind of power play which touches on the complexities of contemporary power structures. Of note, for instance, is that the primary venues for strippers in the North East are working-men’s clubs, heavily associated with the mining industry. In the mines, the workers are exploited by their employers; in the clubs, the strippers are exploited by the workers. This is a observation on the complexity of power relations echoed sarcastically by Guy Hocquenghem in The Screwball Asses – ‘The bourgeoisie exploits you, my father exploits you, so fuck me!’. The problematics of this symbolic shifting of power was influential to Two Spots Sixty-Five in a variety of ways; most overtly in my decision not to take on the traditional, powerful role of documentary editor in shaping the interviews into a cohesive narrative. The power of the editorial voice to twist and shape the words and experiences of its subjects has been much discussed. Whilst I admire the alluring stories of Paris Is Burning’s characters, I did not want to allow myself the privilege of manipulation in Two Spots Sixty-Five.

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Methodology

Having done some research in to the striptease industry in the North-East, I discovered that an agent I had worked for called Suzanne was still running an agency. I had always had a good relationship with Suzanne so I called her to speak to her about the prospect of being interviewed for the film. Suzanne was happy to be interviewed, and also put me in contact with women who worked for her. These are excerpts from the interview I conducted with Suzanne in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (Full transcript in appendix). Suzanne is an ex-stripper and owner of Uptown Glamour, a popular striptease agency in the North-East since the 1980s. Sadly when it came to conducting the final interviews for the piece in February 2012 Suzanne had a tooth abscess and couldn’t speak very well. Suzanne’s presence however runs through all the interviews in Two Spots Sixty-Five as she is mentioned often. I wanted to include her interview in this book because her voice as an agent is vital to the work, and she has directly and indirectly had an effect on the working lives of all those interviewed in Two Spots Sixty-Five.

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Waitress: Cup of tea? E: Thankyou, that’s perfect. Erm, if you can tell me about how you got into it, you know how it all began, just about your experiences. S: Tell me when you wanna go. Just whenever you’re ready. And just start wafflin? Yeah.

Right, how did I get into this? Erm, married at 16, divorced at 18, it’s all a bit vague now. Divorced at 18, single parent, no money, no job, ended up goin to see a lady called Anne Robertson who was the only striptease agency in the North East at the time, erm, that’s where it all started and how it started.

There's a little bit of carry on goin on in Whitley Bay at the moment with the council who have stopped it, even though it was a full on stag and hen party place now, because obviously it's not a family place anymore. Now the council are doin it to Newcastle, so basically they're just tryin to rid the places of strippers I think.
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Suzanne (Excerpts)

So stripping back then was a lot more about tease? Yes. Whereas now it's like porn? Yeah I definitely think so because the girls now, see then you would mebbes do a fifteen minute act and you wouldn't have yer clothes off until the very end, especially your pants y'know, you wouldn't have them off til the very end, whereas now what the girls are doin is bra and knickers, they've got them off on the first record. They're doin another couple o' records and they're naked, sort of lapdancin the guys, the come off the stage, they're lapdancin.

I’d made meself a, now what was I sposed to, I can’t remember what I was sposed to be… That was it, top hat and tails, erm, I stripped to a song called How’s That? Who was it by? I can’t remember. Anyway, I didn’t get through the striptease, I came off cryin’, I couldn’t do the last bit and take me knickers off, so I came off, ran off, went no no, that’s it, I’ve tried it, didn’t like it. The chap who was on, it was actually at the Wallsend East End Club, and the chap came out, I can’t remember hes name now, and said ‘aww, nevermind pet, you’ll do better next time but you were great,’ and gave us my, I think it was twelve pounds at the time, which was an absolute fortune.
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What surprised me about the interview process with Suzanne, and indeed with all those interviewed for Two Spots Sixty-Five was the ease with which they spoke about their experiences. I took an informal approach to the interview process. I felt that in order to get the most honest material from the interviewees it was important for me to honour my former role as a stripper. My values, opinions and feelings on the subject may have changed over the years, but I was acutely aware that I was working with individuals who had for one reason or another made stripping their life, possibly because they didn’t have a choice. For this reason I chose to take a neutral stance during the interviews. My aim with each person I interviewed was for them to feel no divide between me as artist, and them as interviewee. After all, each person’s experience will in some way mirror my own. I took inspiration from Marina Abramovic’s piece Role Exchange that deals with the female body and the social contexts within which women operate. For the performance Abramovic exchanged places with a woman who worked as a prostitute in Amsterdam’s red light district, sitting in her window while the woman in question went to take on Abramovic’s role of artist at a private view. Role Exchange exposes the ways in which identity is constructed by the social contexts we find ourselves in. Throughout the interview process of Two Spots Sixty-Five I felt conscious of my position as interviewer and my responsibility

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towards the material gathered. I knew that my prior work as a stripper allowed me a gateway in to the world of each individual that is unique. Because of my movement from the social context of stripper in to the social context of artist I was able to constantly move back and forth fluidly between roles during the interview process.

Marina Abramovic, Role Exchange 1975

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Two Spots Sixty-Five Interview Documentation

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Blondie (Excerpts)

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B: I've had lesbian acts, you know what that entails, but the, years ago it crossed me mind, there was this stripper from Middlesbrough and she was a lovely lookin thing, long blonde 'air, lovely, she was gay, and I remember bein on a job wir 'er and I remember thinkin I really wanna climb in that bed and kiss ya, and I dunno why, it was just this stupid thought and it never entered me head again. I think I just got that split second of bi-curiousy, and then I thought 'ang on, I don't like women. And there's a lot of girls who think the are but like I say I'm gonna be honest it crossed me mind that split second all them years ago but, never since, but I can kiss a girl and think nothing of it, but I know that I'm still straight. So that was another point I wanted to point out, it's weird, it's weird. E: I’m so happy you brought that up because you know what, I never thought about it, but I think it’s the same for me because I remember having moments where I danced and thought the same, because you start, because you start to look at a woman because what you’re doing isB: Because you’re with them all the time.

E: Yeah, and also, what you’re doing as a stripper I suppose is you’re displaying yourself as a sexual object and what you start doing, you start looking at the women around you as objects, who can be, you know, and you start seeing them for their beauty, just for their physical beauty, you start looking at them perhaps as a man would. B: Maybe, yeah, cos as I say, in a normal world you don’t get to see many people’s boobs or fannies and that. And without sounding horrible inside and out, y’know what I mean, I’ve watched so many, worked with so many, I’ve seen everything and the average person my age probably hasn’t, well the won’t ‘ave, because it’s not normality is it, to be seein people naked like all the time. E: Do you think that, do you think that possibly, you’re saying it’s not sexual… Do you think maybe it could be a power thing? A thing about roles in society, like a man’s role in society and a woman’s role in society, and do you think that having a woman do that could be some kind of power thing, or do you thinkB: Yeah, it could be a power thing. But part of doin this, cos you do

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kinda have them in your power. You do kinda have them in your power cos you’ll know, when we did Whitley Bay it’s like, it’s, I’m trying to get the right way to explain it, it’s, yeah, cos you’ve got them there ‘aven’t ya? I kind of think it is a power but people think you pull every time but you don’t, you get the odd one that’s all and you write it off really, you don’t... But yeah, I think it is a lot to do with power, I wouldn’t say I’m the most confident person in the world but I’ve got a lot more confidence outta doin this, cos if you’d met me at school I was like a wallflower, I was so quiet and I think because I got bullied a bit I think I rebelled into doin this. So when I got the chance to do it I was like yeah, I’ll do this, watch, and it’s give me the confidence, I’ve been to school reunions and I’ve actually bragged about it cos I wanted them to see the new me y’know, and I’d be like “oh yeah, I’m a dancer now, haha,” and all the lads that picked on us are like “oh god, you’re lush,” and all that now, y’know and I’m like “yeah, tough,” so yeah it has been a power thing I’d say, definitely. E: What about, do you think power, like male power? B: Male power, from them comin to see us? I think it’s probably like a
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bloke who’s married or got a girlfriend it’s a little bit naughty isn’t it cos you’re lookin at another woman, but on the other hand it’s not a bad thing cos he’s not cheatin and he’s not gettin a one-on-one dance. I think it just goes with football, beer, stags, lads, it’s just, well it was back in the day, football even, cos that used to have a lot of work in it, but again not now. Yeah, probably, power for the man yeah, I would say so. E: It’s just kind of in the sense that, y’know, in a way when we take our clothes out we’re showing, what we’re selling is our image, we’re selling the image of ourselves, like we are, y’know, kind of like a fantasy for them, like the image of a fantasy, the way that we dress, like, I think costumes are interesting, things like y’know, cos it can kind of represent a totally archetypal image of like a whore for instance, or of like a schoolgirl, always these archetypal images of women, it’s not the real you. You put a costume on and you become a schoolgirl, and what is that, what are you selling then to the man?

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Emily (Excerpts)

I remember one job that we worked together on and it was hilarious… it was one of the worst jobs I’ve actually ever done. They didn’t have any music, we had to dance to the radio. Think the guys in there had about 2p to rub between them so when we did a whip round they were puttin three pence in and things, so it was a total nightmare job.

Emily’s advert on Uptown Glamour

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EM: I really enjoyed workin for an agent, it was Playboys International that I first started with, and I just loved the travel part of it, I loved the fact that I was makin a lot of money and I could work when I wanted so I just had a freedom to choose when I wanted to work and was earnin quite a lot of money. I was travellin up and down the country, meetin a lot of fun girls and gettin a lot of attention and I think for someone my age, sixteen seventeen at the time I just really enjoyed it. I loved it, I loved the attention.

well you started with me as well and some of the jobs we did together and things like that. E: Can you remember any of those jobs? Can you remember anything from like when we worked together?

EM: I remember one job that we worked together on and it was hilarious, we erm, I think we got picked up in Newcastle and taken to some really rough bar in somewhere like Peterlee or somethin like that and I think we were a bit tired but we turned up EM: You can’t dance forever, but I and it was one of the worst jobs do see a lot of tragic girls where I’ve actually ever done. They didn’t the ended up where they’re still have any music, we had to dance dancin when they’re like really past to the radio. Think the guys in it, and I can tell they don’t want to there had about 2p to rub between do it anymore but it’s the only them so when we did a whip round thing they know and they haven’t they were puttin three pence in studied anything else while they’ve and things, so it was a total been doin it so I think it’s really nightmare job. I’m sure one of us important if you do it as a job to forgot our shoes as well so it was follow somethin else that you just a total mess. I always tell my really want to do. friends about that one, dancin to the radio. E: It was cos of you that I started doing it (stripping). That’s why I was really happy when you said that you’d do the interview. EM: Yeah well I thought obviously we’ve knew eachother years and
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E: Hahahaha, I’d completely forgotten about that. I remember it was that really dodgy pub and I remember I hadn’t been doing it for very long, I remember it was literally one of the first ones for Carole, I remember turning up in

this village, we were driven by this driver... EM: Was that the one with the glasses? Eurgh. E: I’d forgotten about dancing to the radio, so funny.

it was a proper lesbian show basically, so that was quite shockin. I think that’s how they made their money though, it’s kind of a novelty isn’t it for some men?

EM: The (Daily) Sport events were some of me favourite jobs actually cos we always made a fortune.. they were quite hilarious… the men were all high rollers as well, always had money on them. So that was a good earner. E: I remember doing one with you, I think it was like Leeds or somewhere and it was this massive hall, and there were some sisters, two sport model sisters and they did a lesbian show, that is hands down the most shocking thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life. EM: Yeah because they were actually, I remember those two girls at one of the sport shows, the sisters, and bein reminded of it yeah, I remember that, and it was shockin cos they weren’t just kissin and things, which is bad enough anyway for bein sisters, they were like goin down on eachother, wasn’t simulated either,
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Maria (Excerpts)

… at the time when I was doin it there was a lot of like men wantin the girls to go out because I think it was sorta like their ego to think “aww, I’m goin to see a stripper tonight, aww, takin all her clothes off and wow!”, and I think it was something in the guys that give them excitement to see a stripper. But I think nowadays it’s workin both ways because the way like I’ve seen all these young girls now, the way they go on with the male strippers which, it’s very very I would say seedy.

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E: Do you think it’s...why do you think women strippers are more popular than male strippers? M: Erm, well at the time when I was doin it there was a lot of like E: I used to use props. I loved men wantin the girls to go out them. I think I was literally, one of because I think it was sorta like the last, ten years ago or so. So their ego to think “aww, I’m goin to what did you do with the see a stripper tonight, aww, takin marshmallows? all her clothes off and wow!”, and I think it was something in the guys M: Ehm, wey, what I used to do that give them excitement to see a was, I used to bite them in half, I stripper. But I think nowadays it’s used to stick one half on me left workin both ways because the way boob, on me right boob, and I used like I’ve seen all these young girls to bite another one behalf, stick now, the way they go on with the them on like cheeks o’ me bum, male strippers which, it’s very very and I used to bite one but eat one I would say seedy. Cos they half and stick the other half on me wouldn’t think twice about like navel, and then I used to go to goin with them, which when I was individual guys for them to bite workin with them, the girls used to them off, and they all used to be just like squeal and laugh and sittin goin “Me, me! Am I next? think “ee, I’ve touched he’s body, Me!” so I just used to go up to ee, he’s doin this with he’s them and it was a laugh, it was manhood” and everythink, but really funny. To think I’ve got them these days I think they wouldn’t guys and they’re puttin their hands think twice about havin sex with up “me, me, me!”, it was so funny, them, so like as I say it has it was, crazy. And I think back now changed a lot today to what it was that was crazy, stickin years ago. So. marshmallows on us like. But the guys loved it so, and they were daft enough to do it so, why not? I was gettin paid for it at the end of it, so that was good.

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started puttin a bottleneck inside of her and the blood was just all over and the guy went over and licked it all off and she just sat on his face and I just got all me clothes and ehm just walked out of the place… the agent just give her E: I know when I worked, which a warnin and a tellin off which, if I’d was, when I was working for an agency it was 12, 10 years ago-ish, been the agent I woulda sacked I know that some girls would, that her, because if anything like that was something they would do. Did had been goin about all the time then we would get classed as the you find that at the time you were same type of person and we stripping? wouldn’t get any work cos they M: Ehm, at first no. But like as I say would say oh if you’ll not do it you’re not workin, you’re not gettin when all this lapdancin started to paid and that was it so, but that come into it ehm I know of some was a disgustin horrible night girls that did do it, and girls that which I had gone into. would offer their services for five pound to go in the toilet with the guys at the shows, which I wouldn’t work with them type girls,… I don’t want to work with them girls cos we will get tarred with the same brush… I had a few, few nights with a coupla girls that I found were totally digustin, there was a real horrible horrible girl and she was just totally disgusting, I wouldn’t work with her ever again. E: What did she do? M: Ehm, well, it was a pub in Newcastle… with this girl and she was just sorta game for anything… she started doin an extra spot and she was on her period, and she
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I do feel that the guys put more artistic work into it but that’s probably why the guys get paid three times as much as the girls do for doin’ the same show.

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Andy (Excerpts)

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policeman and it’ll take time to get the first layer off and once they’ve got that one off it’ll be down to some form or harness or shorts … eventually down to the g-string and you only see the full nudity at the very end of the show in the last say thirty seconds and that’s them E: Do you think, you were talking finished, whereas the girls seem to to me about the differences … perform naked without much of between male and female strippers a tease element to it. I do feel that in terms of like how they still, the guys put more artistic work y’know guys still do much more into it but that’s probably why the of a tease? guys get paid three times as much as the girls do for doin the same A: Yeah… when we have the show. Like we can pay girls for female strippers on they basically example seventy pound for doin dance to two records and these three dances over a period of two days they’re comin up and they’re and a half hours whereas the guys basically starting with just their can come in and earn a hundred skimpy bra tops on and their and fifty pound just for doin one knickers, leaving like very little to twenty minute slot and then they’re the imagination. They dance the out, but again the guys come in, do first three minutes to one record their show and that’s it. The girls I and the bra is off, and then the think do rely heavily on the minute the second record starts customers tipping them… which the bottom’s off and then all has obviously can make up quite a big been seen so they then have to difference. dance for two minutes and I think in that aspect people probably E: …what do you think of the girls lose interest, they’ve seen what and the people who’ve sort of they wanted to see. Whereas when taken part of it and made that their we have the male strippers they life? can do a twenty minute show and it’s all very costume oriented … A: Yet again, that’s changed. Years audience participation included … ago when I was doin it a lot of the they’ll come out in a full costume girls seemed to have a career out whether it be a fireman, a builder, of it where they would go venue to
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venue and making a living out of it. Compared to the girls that we have on these days they maybe do a couple of jobs a week and I’ve got them ranging from students that are subsidising their uni fees, down to single parents where they just want to earn the extra money doin one or two shows a week because the work isn’t there as much as it was. People could make a career out of it years ago and now there’s very … limited spaces for them to actually, like, work. We have the girls fightin for these jobs on a Friday and Saturday afternoon, seemingly, Suzanne says they all want to work, the agent I use, and come March I think it’s gonna be even harder for them to actually make a livin out of it for any of those that were doing it. I have a couple of girls that work here occasionally that have been doin it for the last fifteen sixteen years and they’re basically saying that they’re now having to think about it and lookin elsewhere because they can’t get the work, and it’s nothing to do with how long they’ve been doing it or their age, because they actually go down a lot better I think.

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Lauren (Excerpts)

A Sunday club, by the way, is when you get driven around by your agent’s driver and accquire about ten pounds for taking your entire kit off and lying on the floor three sheets to wind, dry humping the ground to Jefferson Airplane.

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both amongst themselves and amongst the other girls, not in a derogatory manner, in fact I know E: OK, hang on, hang on, I’m gonna that they would see themselves as start. Lauren take one (clap) dancing royalty and to some degree they definitely are in that L: Hello I’m Lauren and I’ve been they still had an act, they still had dancing for approximately fifteen outfits made and that outfit would years and sometimes well, take a substantial amount of time sometimes not so well, and I’ve to take off alongside a musical worked in some of the best clubs number which was always the in Europe and some of the worst same and they would probably do ones. I’ve crawled around on my about six of these different acts hands and knees on glassy floors and mix them up and in those with dirty old men smoking rolldays, at least then you’re only ups who couldn’t even be bothered taking your knickers off at the very to look at me on a Sunday club. A end of the song. I’d say that now Sunday club, by the way, is when the general consensus is the girl you get driven around by your would bring a bikini or the tiniest agent’s driver and accquire about outfit she can, basically walk ten pounds for taking your entire around being half groped or kit off and lying on the floor three groped by the men in the room, sheets to wind, dry humping the and then she’ll crawl round on her ground to Jefferson Airplane. As hands and knees, take the bikini you might’ve noticed I’m a little bit off and lie there naked on the floor more intelligent than your average which was one of the first sights I stripper. That’s probably not true. I saw when I said to my best friend I would say that a lot of strippers will never ever do that kind of are intelligent, it’s just that they work. I was a poledancer then. don’t come across as being Then I realised it’s very very quick intelligent because men don’t want money. them to, and that’s I’ve discovered in the years of stripping. E: How did you get into agency E: Lauren take three (clap) stripping work? How did it begin? L: There are a group of strippers known as the Old School Girls,
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L: Agency stripping work, it was through my best friend and she

was doing it as I said, I saw her do it for the first time and I was horrified and I was working in a very well known poledancing club and I said I’ll never do that. Two weeks later I got fired from said poledancing club, through no fault of my own, though everybody does say that, it was through no fault of my own, it was through sexual harrassment, and erm I just couldn’t take it anymore, so I moved on to doing this, and I did find it gave me more freedom. I’d phone in on a Monday, find out, I’d phone in on a Monday, my agent would invariably not know what dates were available. I’d phone back on the Tuesday, find out what dates were available. She’d usually mess me around for at least another day so that by this point it’s Wednesday and then Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday are the days when you usually would get work

A Lost Child. A lost child, frail the white rose and frail are her hands that gave and took, whose soul is serene and paler, and time’s one wave. Petal frail and fair yet frailest. A wander wild, in gentle lies thou vailest our long lost child. Tulips you are, the smell of cut grass after rain you are. You’re cornflowers with gusts wildly pounding above, a dove so high you are, and all this unknown to the world. Let them never know it. Finally I wrote one that might be quite interesting to this. I wrote about basically I have to use the word stripper. She was a black stripper and she was from a race that is African-American but has, no African, but they have very very very heavy labia and bottoms, huge breasts, very very heavy and long, and in the Victorian era it was considered a great great thing to see, they loved freakshows so obviously for them that was a great thing for them to see. I am actually trying to find it now, I can’t find it. E: Is this your Deviantart account? L: Yes it is, yes. I honestly wouldn’t have put my pictures on if I’d known that some people would write that I can’t take your poetry seriously now I’ve seen you. That was really quite sad.

L: We’ll start again. I made a mistake anyway. So this was a poem I wrote in a cathartic way to deal with my feelings about the miscarriage that I had, and it’s one I still haven’t got over but I did find that writing the poem did help and some people did understand, that was nice to know. It’s written in a slightly abstract sense but anyway.
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Simone (Excerpts)

… when we turned up they were expecting a blue show from the Middlesbrough girls … and because they can not lapdance and talk, they didn’t like that at all, so they punched my friend.

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E: OK recording interview with Simone number one. OK, so if you want to introduce yourself. S: Hello, my name is Simone and I started dancing, stripping, when I was, in 1998, and erm the kind of places that you would work would be kind of workman clubs. I remember particularly working at The Ferry Tavern in South Shields with good friends. My memories of that time would be of, kind of, I dunno, fun, serious about having fun. I didn’t really think too much about it because I was quite young at the time and I would make my money, pay the bills and I was just the same person, well different person from, so basically you would show a different facet to your personality I suppose. E: So it wasn’t a strip job, it was a blue job? S: Yeah, we were told it was a strip job. It was two spots. Two spots, eighty, OK. E: And you got there and they didn’t want strippers?
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S: No. They’d obviously, they’d used this agent before and the blue girls, so that’s not what was going down here. The men were ready to go, they were waiting for a blue show. E: So can you just say so it’s really clear for the tape recorder, our agent has told us it was a strip job and we got there and they wanted us to do a blue show which we didn’t want to do? S: Yeah, misleading. E: Are you ok to repeat what you just said please? S: Yeah, our agent… had told us that it was going to be a strip job and then when we got there it was not that. They’d… used this agent before, and bear in mind she did have strippers and she did have blue girls. We didn’t know that at the time but when we turned up they were expecting a blue show from the Middlesbrough girls – sorry, we used our initiative and we thought ‘right, we’re doing lapdances’ – and because they can not lapdance and talk. They didn’t like that at all so they punched my friend.

E: And so did they actually end up doing the blue show? S: Yeah, they did it. E: Can you explain what a blue show entails? S: Erm, a blue show, I didn’t really want to watch but it was kind of, they, there’s two girls and it’s supposed to be, dunno, obviously you sign a contract and the contract would be for simulation, but a blue show it’s not simulation, it’s actually two girls actually going for it and you know using a vibrator and inserting the vibrator in eachother, wherever they want to put it whether it’s, just imagine it’s your lover but they’re actually doing it for the same price, maybe

just thirty pounds more, a hundred pounds say, which I think is not… it’s not really fulfilling is it? Cos it’s quite a private act and I think if you’re gonna do something like that I dunno… But anyway, I never really wanted to watch so I only watched a little bit but I think some can involve guys as well maybe. Definitely. Yeah… my experience of stripping is quite a negative one, and it’s something that is quite dark and seedy, not my idea of fun whatsoever.

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Frankie (Excerpts)

Oh me dad wouldn’t let us go in the pits, the pits were still open when I left school, he turned round said I wasn’t gonna go down the pits, he just didn’t want me to go down the pits for some reason, which I appreciate, cos it’s a hard job.

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F: Aye.....want a pork sandwich? E: I’m vegetarian but I’ll definitely get a sandwich of some kind. So this is where, this here where Lidl is now, that’s where the Blue Ice was?

in the village. Lived ‘ere fifty, fifty-four year. Me dad was well liked in the village, tallest miner in County Durham. E: How tall was he?

F: About six foot seven. But the F: Where the car park is used to be papers said he was seven foot. I think it was The Sun ‘e was in, I’m the Blue Ice, in the bigtime days. not sure which paper it was like, was that many year ago, but me E: And then this is The Brunny. dad’s dad, he was a miner and he’s father before him. The bureau F: Uh-huh, The Brunny. behind us is me great great E: Can we go round the front, have grandas, and he got that for so many year’s service in the pits. a look? F: Yeah. Nee wonder you’ve got no meat on your bones, a vegetarian. One of my friends was a vegetarian, she’s missed now like. E: She’s what? F: She’s missed. She was only twenty three when she died. E: Aww. And this is it, this is The Brunny. F: Aye, it’s The Brunny. All closed up. Finished. Whether it re-opens again I do not kner. 2. F: Just a normal lad, born and bred
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E: And you would’ve been too young to have ever worked. F: Eh? E: Mining. F: Oh me dad wouldn’t let us go in the pits, the pits were still open when I left school, he turned round said I wasn’t gonna go down the pits, he just didn’t want me to go down the pits for some reason, which I appreciate, cos it’s a hard job. E: So what’ve you done? F: Worked at a pop firm for two year, I worked at a cable factory for

F: Well it’s something to do in the spare time. It’s a laugh in a way. I don’t, whatyoucall, agree wir it. But in other words I can understand why they do it, to get money and that cos a lot of them’s got bairns, different things like that, but in a E: So how did you find yourself getting into driving dancers about? way I disagree with it. twenty five year. I’ve been a cleaner, ended up cleaning buses, had an accident, hurt me back. That’s about it. I’ve worked here all me life til now. F: Well it was just out one night I was talkin to a couple of mates in Shields and they just asked us to give a lasses a coupla lift hyem and I said aye, and then just different times, now and again they’d phone us up askin if I’d drive them and that’s it. E: Did you enjoy it? F: Aye I enjoyed it, gets ye out of the house, gets ye about. E: Why do you think you disagree with it? E: Why do you disagree with it? F: I don’t know, I go and watch them. I enjoy goin watchin them. I even watch the odd DVDs and different things like that in the house, soft porn and different things like that but I disagree with them for some reason.

F: I don’t know, probably just the E: Did you used to go see dancers way I’ve been brought up. Been anyway before you started driving? brought up to respect people, different things like that. F: Er, nah. Not before I started E: So do you think that dancers driving. It was after I started aren’t respected? driving I think. F: Wey, I mean they’re no different to what we are, they’re just normal people tryin to make a living, but for some reason cos they do the F: Oh aye. dancin, they take the clothes off, E: And what were your impressions they get put down. of it? E: And so it kind of opened you up into that world a bit.

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After interviewing Jeremy he gave me his collection of newspaper cuttings about the striptease industry in Whitley Bay. As Suzanne mentioned in her interview, the council in Whitley Bay have recently put new restrictions on venues who host Saturday afternoon strip events causing these events to only occur once a month. Jeremy has actively participated in lobbying against these changes and keeping the venues open all week. From his interview I realised that the reason he is so passionate about keeping the striptease scene alive in Whitley Bay is that it provides him with a social life. Before Jeremy started going to strip venues he didn't know anyone in the area. Jeremy is in his 80s. His desperation to keep alive the striptease industry brings up deeper issues of how our society responds to its ageing generation, who are often disregarded in favour of youth. Interesting then that the only connection Jeremy finds with the world is through an industry that prizes youth above most other things.

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Jeremy (Photographs and Cuttings)

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Frankie & Jeremy (Excerpts)

I think it cheers people up. When you go out you feel a lot happier. You might go in feeling very very depressed and so on and it cheers you up, it gives you a lift. You might think that many people don’t take much notice, but I think they do, I think they’re there because they feel better afterwards somehow, but perhaps it might make you feel younger perhaps. That is the effect it has.

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J: I think it, well I think it cheers people up. When you go out you feel a lot lot happier. You might go in feeling very very depressed and so on and it cheers you up, it gives you a lift. You might think that many people don’t take much notice, but I think they do, I think they’re there because they feel better afterwards somehow, but perhaps it might make you feel younger perhaps. That is the effect it has. E: So you think it’s like, so for you it’s been an entirely positive experience? J: Yeah, and you meet people too. Not only the customers, the girls will talk to you and so on, and most are quite friendly, and so it’s been quite a positive er, especially if you come new to an area

the country, even down to the West Country. F: I think it began the workin men’s clubs on like a Sunday mornin puttin like dancers on.

E: So you think it brings a positivity to the area? J: I’m absolutely convinced of this, yes. But it’s just spoiled because one or two people have this attitude and I can’t understand the attitude. Nobody has ever told me what is wrong with it. What is wrong with it? I’ve never seen any harm. It comes I think from St. Augustine of Hippo. F: Aye, I’ve got nothing against lasses dancin in the bars and different things like that, but I divn’t like it when they get the blokes up and start whippin them and different things like that. J: Ah, there’s a nerve, that is a E: Do you think it is unique to the different thing, yes. North East in the way that it is F: I think that’s why they’re gettin it now? all stopped. J: I don’t think it’s unique any longer, I think it’s spread from here, F: Ye’ve got to look at it from both I think the North East was the first. angles like haven’t ya? You’ve got to look at it from our side, which is I do recall reading something entertainment and that, it’s about it in a different part of the country. I think it spread from here, enjoyable, but ye’ve got to look at it from the dancer’s side n’all haven’t I think it did, but I think ye? F: The lapdancin clubs opened up in Newcastle and then they started J: Well they need protected from all the off in Edinburgh and different F: Oh aye. places like that. J: I don’t think it’s degrading in any J: Yes. I think it’s spread all over
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way. I don’t think I would go if I thought it was degrading. E: Maybe the things that are degrading about it are circumstancial, because I’ve spoken to people who y’know, there’s something for me that was degrading about going out into a space that didn’t have a properly washed floor. J: Yes. E: And so you were being expected to perform on a stage that was filthy. That was degrading to me. I think perhaps what’s degrading about it is not the kind of thing of taking off your clothes but the kind of reverence that’s given to that and the respect that’s given to that act. J: Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes. I agree. I also would think some of the DJs upset me. Some of the comments, the coarse comments. There’s nothing from the viewer’s point of view but DJs do say some nasty things from time to time and it spoils, I mean it’s an artistic act from my point of view and you don’t want, it would spoil any, I mean some good music if it was announced using four letter words and things like that it would, well it would ruin it. E: I think that perhaps there’s a bit of a culture that’s kind of come with it.. I remember when I was really young I used to dread, completely dread working at a
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place at the bottom called The Deep, because you’d go out and the guy would inevitably have something to say about me that was really degrading and you’d just have to go, I’m making a hundred and twenty quid this afternoon and I don’t care, I’m gonna grow a thick skin to his comments because he’d inevitably be like “you need your roots done darlin,” something like that, or call you like a slag or a slut. J: Yes, yes. F: Wey that happened regular in eh Wallsend East End Club, they used to call the dancers all sorts. Some of them used to chuck beer mats onto stage. E: What’s the Wallsend East End Club? F: At the end of the act when the dancer was finished he used to shout “the man from Del Monte he says F OFF!” and different things like that. E: What was the Wallsend East End Club? F: Eh? It was just a workin men’s club. And they used to have dancers on on a Sundeh. He used to swear and all sorts at the dancers, but at the end o’ the day when they stopped ‘um, they (the customers) complained about it.

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Two Spots Sixty-Five Installation

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The audience enters a darkened room. Four plinths hold monitors each displaying a separate video interview, two headphones are attached to each monitor. At four different points across the space, headphones hang from the ceiling – there are stools below the headphones allowing the audience to sit and listen to the interviewees experiences. Each of the 8 interview display points is lit by a dim spotlight, this serves to bring a level of exposure both to the material and to the audience member experiencing the material. Each interview has two headphones attached to it; this creates layers of experience. There is the personal, intimate experience; then the one-onone created by listening next to someone else, privately sharing in the same material; then the collective experience of the whole room sharing the experience. This reflects the life of a stripper: the internal personal experience, the shared experience with another girl, and the communal both by stripping in a room and also the larger striptease community.

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There is a large screen hanging in the centre of the room displaying a projection of a multicoloured light up dancefloor with an empty wooden pub chair. The floor lights up and lights down slowly, but no one ever fills the chair. This acts to disempower the visual spectacle of striptease by reducing it to a ‘mise-en-scene’ of the performance space where no performer ever appears. Those listening to the the headphone posts are free to then fill the space with the experiences of the disembodied voice they are listening to.
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Projected photograph projected in installation antechamber (120 mm film)

During the interview process I gave each participant the choice to be filmed or to only have his or her voice recorded. The choice to display both talking head video interviews and sound interviews came from a desire to create different levels of experience within the space. The audioonly stories go in to people’s minds like monologues, feeling and experiencing the effect of their words internally, interacting with the projection. The video interviews allow the audience to engage with the embodied storyteller, so that when their eyes leave the monitor they
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re-connect with the space and the projection taking in to account the experiences they have just heard. This layering process within the space reflects the photographic processes I used in Choral Walk. The space becomes like a Palimpsest, with more layers divulging themselves the more time is spent in the space. The editorial decision I made to include all material not only came from a desire to remove as much editorial power over the material as possible, but also to display the material as not just phenomenological, but also documentary. I considered reducing the whole exhibition to just sound, but like Susan Hillier’s Witness I felt that this would serve to render the material to the collective experience instead of highlighting the impact of the striptease industry on the lives of individuals. I felt that by displaying both voice and documentary video interviews those involved in the industry become real. I strove to stay away from the glamourisation of those involved in the sex industry that I mentioned earlier is reflected in Nancy and Ed Kienholz’s Hoerengracht, for instance. The amount of material in the exhibition allows each person a unique experience of the industry, as in life no experience is ever absolute but subjective. From Two Spots Sixty-Five you take what you find and construct your own feelings, resonances and relevances. I also felt responsibility to the material not just as a piece of art but also as social research, and I felt that editing that down would water down the experience.

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Review of Two Spots Sixty-Five Rosamund Picton

Two Spots Sixty-Five is an immersive and at times, unsettling installation which enables us to enter an oft-unseen world. Upon entering the space, visitors are plunged into a darkened environment punctuated with 8 spot-lit areas wherein video and audio recorded interviews loop. In the centre of the space hangs a projected video of a brightly lit dance-floor and an empty chair. The contrast between light and dark is an intelligent mediation of the artist, creating an almost reverential atmosphere that prepares the audience to give the honest and sincere disclosures of the women and men involved the appropriate attention. The sensitive subject matter is handled deftly, the articulacy of the candidates foregrounded by the absence of interruption from the interviewee. The seamlessness and relevance of their answers is a testament to the artist’s evident careful and considered questioning. Experiences recounted range from the humorous to the downright terrifying, with each participant having the space to explain, describe and in some cases defend their personal involvement with the industry. The success of the instillation truly lies in their candidness. Perhaps the addition of the interview transcripts would have offered another equally powerful means of communication that would not have necessitated listening to the whole interview. However, though one interview lasted up to 70 minutes, this was seemingly not an editing oversight, the tales told by Maria were so engrossing and intimate when heard through the
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headphones it felt as if they were being told directly to you, the visitor, a privileged audience, so far away from the voyeuristic crowds evoked by her graphic descriptions – it felt as if it would be rude to walk away! The installation opens up this sub-cultural industry, dispelling the myth and mystery surrounding it to reveal a place populated with highly intelligent and amusing women, and men, without giving into exploration of tawdry details to titillate the audience. Such stories as those recounted in Two Spots Sixty-Five, can only be received wholly by those who invest the same amount of attentiveness and understanding as is conveyed by the subjects and captured by their conscientious and insightful interviewer, I hope other visitors made this effort, as I found the results inspiring and stimulating.

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ENTRANCE TO INSTALLATION SPA

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Pink Triangle, Newcastle-UponTyne

ANDY

Monkseaton, North Tynside Kingston Park, NewcastleUpon-Tyne

JEREMY + FRANKIE 40mins

22mins

LAUREN

50mins

South Shields, South Tyneside

MARIA

70mins

Benwell, NewcastleUpon-Tyne

EMILY

30mins

Heaton, NewcastleUpon-Tyne

SIMONE

Pity Me, County Durham

FRANKIE 23mins

26mins

Monkwearmouth, Sunderland

BLONDIE 33mins

ION SPACE

Handout: Map of installation space Spatial location of installation elements correspond to geographical location of interviews. Colliery map to denote implied links between stripping industry and (decline) of mining industry – the economic impact of pit closure and the imposition of a post-industrial, service-based economy metaphorically exemplified by the stripping industry.
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Section 3 Appendix

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take one (clap). st want to begin e telling me a out the setup, work now and seen in terms of the North East, your experienc-

ently I’m the The Eagle bar.

n I erm, I kicked we’re gonna start

s. Tell him I’ll be n minutes, I’m film thing, but ng as soon as K right, bye. Erm.

I’m just gonna again. OK, Andy ap).

ntly manager of ar in Newcastle. male strippers day and Satnoon. We have his in this venue ely nine years. this we’ve been wenty five years ous two venues ockies and Rock t started as a Rock Shots when in the female 1985, erm, did en years but only a barman I’d day afternoons ad the female n. Now as mansponsible for the girls, introm to the stage, hem off, trying udience partici95

pation because sometimes the crowd aren’t as appreciative as they should be towards them. There has been quite a few changes from when I first started to now. Originally it was more, I find it more of a show and the whole afternoon involved the strippers and the dancers in between whereas now we basically do just the two girls doin three shows a day on an afternoon so we run a show every twenty minutes. The crowd’s totally changed and the fact that when we first did this it was a very local crowd that filled the venues. Now it’s only a handful of locals and a lot of it is visitors to the city. We rely on stag parties, mainly Irish ones, because seemingly they don’t have too much of strip clubs and that over in Ireland, and so we’ve got a bit of a reputation with them, mainly the stag dos where their friends want to get them up on stage with the girls, doin a bit of a routine, embarassing them. We also do male strippers but that, yet again, is to a gay crowd, purely the men and the difference in the appreciation is amazing. Like the girls can get a good response. The guys, they go on, they can do a twenty minute show and at the end of it sometimes they’re lucky if they actually get a clap. I find that quite amusing. E: Do you think, you were talking to me about the differences between male and female strippers in terms of like how they still, y’know guys still do much more of a tease? A: Yeah, it’s, when we have the female strippers on they basically dance to two

records and these days they’re comin up and they’re basically starting with just their skimpy bra tops on and their knickers, leaving like very little to the imagination anyway, erm. They dance the first three minutes to one record and the bra is off, and then the minute the second record starts the bottom’s off and then all has been seen so they then have to dance for two minutes and I think in that aspect people probably do lose interest, they’ve seen what they wanted to see, whereas when we have the male strippers they can do a twenty minute show and it’s all very costume orientated and audience participation included in it where they’ll come out in a full costume whether it be a fireman, a builder, policeman and it’ll take time to get the first layer off and once they’ve got that one off it’ll be down to some form or harness or shorts or whatever and they come off eventually down to the g-string and you only see the full nudity at the very end of the show in the last say thirty seconds and that’s them finished, whereas the girls seem to have a bit, they perform naked without much of a tease element to it. I do feel that the guys put more artistic work into it but that’s probably why the guys get paid three times as much as the girls do for doin the same show. Like we can pay girls for example seventy pound for doin three dances over a period of two and a half hours whereas the guys can come in and earn a hundred and fifty pound just for doin one twenty minute slot and then they’re out, but again the guys come in, do their show and that’s it. The

girls I think do rely heavily on the customers tipping them, erm, which obviously can make up quite a big difference. Also if they do the stag shows they’ll charge extra to get a stag up, although the rules on it mean that the girls have to like aren’t allowed to be fully nude during it and they must perform with their bottoms on. They can go topless but under the new regulations they mus always maintain like covering their genitalia, and.... There’s a lot of changes comin about at the moment because at one time ye had all the social clubs and any venue could put on strippers. Under the new licenses you now have to apply to be a sex establishment otherwise you can only put twelve performances a year on. We currently have an application in with the council erm, so we can actually maintain keeping these going fiftytwo weeks a year, but because of the cost involved in that there are a lot of venues that were previously doin it in the North East that’ve stopped doin it, erm, used to be quite a big female strip scene down in Whitley Bay with a lot of the bars in Whitley Bay doin it. They’re all ending at the end of February because when the new licenses come in in March they can’t afford to pay for the licenses to keep these goin. E: Can I stop you there? I don’t suppose you’ve got a plug I can borrow? This battery is a nightmare, it keeps running out, I’ve only had it on for ten minutes. Would you have a plug I could possibly plug it into. Thankyou. I mean just like, I’m interested in your impressions, like 96

your personal impressions on what it’s like, y’know, cos it’s kind of an unusual job, and it’s an unusual thing I suppose to have seen that a lot isn’t it? In terms of like, not many people will have had a life where they see that kind of sexual entertainment you know, regularly. And it’s interesting to talk to somebody who’s had that experience, and what do you think of the girls and the people who’ve sort of taken part of it and made that their life? A: Yet again, that’s changed. Years ago when I was doin it a lot of the girls seemed to have a career out of it where they would go venue to venue and making a living out of it. Compared to the girls that we have on these days they maybe do a couple of jobs a week and I’ve got them ranging from students that are subsidising their uni fees, down to single parents where they just want to earn the extra money doin one or two shows a week because the work isn’t there as much as it was. People could make a career out of it years ago and now there’s very very limited spaces for them to actually, like, work. We have the girls fightin for these jobs on a Friday and Saturday afternoon, seemingly, Suzanne says they all want to work, the agent I use, and come March I think it’s gonna be even harder for them to actually make a livin out of it for any of those that were doing it. I have a couple of girls that work here occasionally that have been doin it for the last fifteen sixteen years and they’re basically saying that they’re now having to think about it and lookin elsewhere because they

can’t get the work, and it’s nothing to do with how long they’ve been doing it or their age, because they actually go down a lot better I think the girls that have been doin, the older ones, still put a lot of that performance element into it. The never girls that’ve come along probably think that it’s just a case of right, wham, bam, get the clothes off, get the money and out, but we have a few like Zoe who I’ve had for many a year. I remember when I first worked down as a barman and she still done it but she goes down so well cos she does the entertainment aspect, she’s one of the only ones that still uses costumes whereas, as I said earlier, most of the girls now think they can come up in the bra and knickers and do their thing. E: And erm, what do you think, you were saying that people could make a career out of it but do you think that that’s really possible? You say that there’s people have been doing it for years, but do you think they’ll be able to carry on doing it? A: Well obviously it’s very image conscious with a lot of it so there’s always gonna be a limited shelf life on anything. Because at the end of the day it’s their body and their looks that people are coming in for. The guys are coming in and, no offense, they don’t want to see something that looks like their mother or grandmother dancing on the stage, they come in for that elusiveness that they can’t normally get, they want a bit of glamour, something they may not normally get, especially with the older regular crowd that come in

here, they are more appreciative of the girls that go on. The younger guys that come in on the stag dos and that, to them it’s just a laugh and a day out, but the older guys you can see appreciate the girls, they appreciate the beauty of the girls and for them once that beauty goes then you’re not gonna get the bookings that you were getting, and at the same time due to the lack of venues now actually having strippers on, and a lot of it’s moved from the strip side to the pole dancing which came in and the lapdancing clubs which are all very good but expensive, the type of people we cater for, we charge like a minimum admission of three pounds and they’re not paying for the dancers, but if they go to these lapdancing clubs with all these young girls then they have to pay forty pound a dance and they’re paying twenty pounds admission and ridiculous bar prices at the same time. But these girls, yet again probably only have a shelf life up until they’re twenty-five and then they move onto the next batch. They want to keep their girls fresh and young, so it is a hard career for anybody to try and make money with. E: You said something earlier that really interested me which is that they’re selling their image in a sense, as like a fantasy, so what kind of like, keeping that in mind, what sort of service do you think a stripper provides? A: To be fair, service, I’ve never really thought of it, but then I’ve mainly dealt with the female strippers and being a gay man it’s, to me, I can appreciate the 97

artistic form of it but from who’s like constantly perthe service side I haven’t fectly beautiful and always really thought, but with flirty and attractive, you some of the older guys I know is that real? Because spose, some of the geneven if a woman is like that eral customers it’s, they’re sometimes, there’s gonna looking at, it’s something be times when she’s in a that they can’t normally get mood or when she can’t be or isn’t readily available to bothered to brush her hair. them, to have a girl dancYou know what I mean? ing right in front of them, they could feel that it’s perA: Yeah but, they come in sonal for them and espehere and they know that cially when the girls go the girls are always going around and if they pay the to be, they’ll come in, the attention to them that no girls’ll be nice, the girls have doubt it makes that guy feel to be friendly and the girls good for that moment, this always have to look good, girl likes me, and it gets so it’s yet again escapism. them away from the norm They may have their wife at where they wouldn’t norhome, who could be lookmally get a young girl flirting dog rough that morning and cavorting with them, ing, hasn’t bothered doing although yet again it’s just her hair, makeup and doing a show. The girls underher housework. That’s the stand that but some of the image they’ve left at home. customers may think oh, They come out to see this she does like me. The girls beautiful girl or whatevare very good at putting on er and think oh, but at the that show and making each same time, are they, do they customer feel special, but reminisce to when their that is what they come in for, partners made that effort they want for that two and and looked that good, it’s a half hours to think that the same with the courtoh, they have attractive girls ing, whenever you meet interested in them, these somebody and you first girls talking with them and go out or you’re first marflirting with them. ried you always make that extra effort, always want to E: It’s interesting what you impress, make them feel were saying about they’re good, or when they turn up giving something they to meet you they’ll go wow, wouldn’t usually get. Do you I’m the lucky one but then think that that thing is realwe all get into that lapse istic? For anybody? where we think OK, I’m too comfortable with this A: In what way? and we don’t bother shaving, don’t bother dressE: Well I kind of mean that ing up, just throwing on you know, I’m just interestscruffs, erm, so, we can get ed in how images of women a bit relaxed with it whereare sold and bartered and as these girls have to make you know it sort of struck the effort. If they came in me when you said they looking rough, no makecome for something they up, scraggy hair or whatevcouldn’t usually get and I er, would they get the same think is that realistic, you attention from the guys? know to anybody? Is a girl They’re selling the perfect

image most of them where the body looks good, they’re well turned out, the makeup’s fabulous and perhaps they think that’s the sort of woman I would like. It doesn’t mean that we’re ever going to get it, but we always get things that we can’t have. E: That’s really interesting. Is there anything that, I’m just gonna quickly check something, this is in focus. Is there anything that you could talk to me about you know in terms of your memories of kind of you know the older strippers, the people, not older in age, but back in the 80s when you worked at Rock Shots. A: I did the Saturday afternoons, I only worked the one afternoon. As I say the girls then, to me it was much more of a show and an entertainment side of things compared to now, but at the same time they had larger, we were pulling in larger crowds, but again that could be down to the fact that that sort of thing wasn’t readily available. If people wanted to see the nudity you would either go see a stripper or the guys would buy a Playboy magazine or whatever. Now it’s so readily available on the internet, they can watch that many girls erm doing internet shows and there is that much pornography on the internet I think the art of the live show has lost it quite a bit, they don’t put on the big shows that they used to do, and it, I just think, because it’s there for them, it is just so readily available these days they don’t need to come into the likes of these clubs anymore if they just want that quick titilla98

tion, you can click a mouse on and there you go, you’re online. It’s a shame. E: That’s a good point. So do you think the acts that girls do now are more explicit than they used to be? A: I think they would probably like to get away with more but especially in here we have very strict guidelines that all girls who perform here are given a set of rules that they must abide by and it, as we say when we get stag dos and that the girls must perform with genitalia covered, there is no forms of penetration or whatever allowed because I have seen in the past where they have used implements or whatever to get the crowd goin and bottles and it all had to stop, been cleaned up quite a bit and obviously with council inspections and the new sex establishment licenses which have had to come into force for any venues holding strippers it, I think it’s tamer than it used to be to some extent. E: Really, that’s interesting. Do you mind, thankyou so much, that’s really really great. Would you mind if I got a few shots of the club? A: I hate these things. E: You’re good on camera though. A: No no no. E: Do you mind if I get some shots of you just some stuff along the bar maybe like you would if you were serving people. A: Without my work shirt on? I would get totally wrong.

Maybe I’ll pour like a half pint. .... E: OK. Would you mind showing me, showing me downstairs where we used to get dressed? That’ll be OK? I’m not sure I can take the thing down actually. So this is the stage, this bit here is the stage where the girls will perform. A: Yes. Obviously we take down the netting and we drop the back screen so there’re no open windows, it all has to be very closed in and the barriers can be removed out so it’s an actual open stage so the whole audience can see. E: Right and so they’d come and most likely be dancing down the stairs. A: Yeah, the girls perform on stage because they come up from the basement area where they get changed and then round, start on the stage and then they dance in this front area during their first song while they still have their genitalia covered they dance amongst the guys so everybody feels as if they’re getting some attention, then they move back down because obviously by the time they do their second song and their underwear is removed and genitalia on show they have to be within this stage area, obviously more for their protection as well because you always take the risk that somebody might decide to get a bit boisterous or decide that that girl is a bit too readily available for them and try and grab, so we always encourage the girls now that they

must perform their final part down on the stage area where I mean, introduce them from the end and then as they come off the stage I then direct them back down to the dressing room where they must cover up before they come up and then normally do their tip collection cos I think the girls do rely heavily on the tips compared to the guys. As I say the guys get paid well for the stripping but the girls on the lower pay do subsidise it by the amount of tips that they make. E: I’m gonna just take a few shots of the Indian dude cos he’s brilliant. And is there any chance of seeing downstairs? Just gonna see if the battery will... .... A: They get changed in this area. That’s why we have the heater on. We have a heater down here which we use for the girls, to make sure it’s nice and warm for them as they come down. E: So what’s this? What kind of, cos this is usually a gay bar, this is a gay bar, so I suppose. Do you mind if I take some images of the pictures on the walls and stuff. Is it unique in Newcastle to be the only gay bar who have female performers. A: Erm, yes. E: It is the only gay bar in Newcastle with female performers. A: Am I the only one that puts female dancers on, yes. E: And has that always been the case or have there been 99

other gay bars with female performers? A: No, it’s, we’ve always had... the guy I work for, he’s been doin them for twenty, twenty seven years on the Friday, Saturday, in his previous nightclub that he had, and then in two of the previous bars, it’s something he’s always done so we’ve just carried it on, which is a change for a gay pub to actually be making money out of the straight market rather than the straight clubs which normally want to put on their once a month or once a week gay nights just to cream in the socalled pink pound as they thought it was, we’ve done it the other way and we take the money out of the straight market which subsidises some of our gay market. E: And what do you think of erm, how is it for you you know when you see these guys coming in on stags and watching these strippers, what do you think of all that, the way they interact with the girls and everything? A: It’s all fun to watch. Just... just a member of staff starting. It’s actually, it’s funny watchin them because I know most of the girls personally now and they are good friends so I know how they can play the guys and they know exactly what buttons to touch with the guys to maximise how much money goes into their little jar at the end of it, and I think we have a good laugh about it at the end of it, but they’re very good at basically getting what they want. But the guys always leave happy and we have a lot of return business from the

stag dos, the Irish guys come over here three, four times a year now and it’s the same ones and they turn up dead on half past twelve on the Friday and they’re asking for their discount tickets for the Saturday cos they’re gonna be here again, but there again the next day only half of them turn up because they’re so hungover from the night before, so. At the same time we’ve never had to employ a member of door staff. I work it just myself and two female staff, we have a girl on the door, a female member of staff on the bar with myself, and although you can have up to a hundred guys in we’ve never once had a bit of trouble. I’ll touch wood on that one, but in the two years I’ve been here, no police called, no trouble. If you know how to actually talk to them then it all gets dealt with and usually the girls are firm enough with them anyway and if one guy steps out of line with a girl it’s usually their friends that knock them down because they don’t like seeing them intimidating a woman, which is why I prefer to work, it’s the only time I have female bar staff here on the afternoon strip events cos obviously being a gay club the rest of the time it’s all male bar staff, but I find it easier and more comfortable for the customers if we have that female there, and I don’t think all these guys would just want to be served by gay men behind a bar. It’s cos at the same time it’s not just the girls they’re probably coming in to look at, they flirt and carry on with our bar staff as well. The two bar maids I have love it because that’s the only time they ever make

tips. The guys are happy to buy them drinks. E: So is it a strict no women rule usually? A: If women want to come in, they can come in. Every now and again you’ll have a stag do turn up and they’ve got a couple of girls with them, and we don’t have a problem with that. I’ve actually come across a couple of lesbians that have been down visiting from Scotland, they came in and when we said we’re doing female strippers but it’s all stag dos, they said “oh no, we want to see the strippers,” and I was quite surprised, I’ve never really dealt with female strippers from the lesbian side but they said they were very interested in seeing what it was like and they had a great afternoon, but a lot of the girls that do come in are the ones that are with the stag parties, you don’t get the local women, never come in. Obviously if you’ve got a group over from Ireland or a group up from London and they’ve got two girls in the party they don’t want to leave them out for the afternoon, but we don’t have any, any restriction on that. It’s the same when we put male strippers on for the guys, we originally did have a no women rule on it, purely because of the fact that most male strippers are actually straight themselves so if you had a couple of women there it would probably divert their attention to those women, and that went against the policy of us being a gay bar, the customers would be like why bother, you put a stripper on and he’s only interested in women, it ruins that fantasy for them that this guy is avail100

able, I could possibly have him, because he only flirted with a woman, well he’s not gay, I’m not interested, and they would lose interest in the stripper. So that was the only reason behind it. E: That’s really good. And usually, do you have women come into the bar like on other days or is it... A: We’re predominantly a gay man’s bar but we do have women in, I have several middle aged women that come in on their own because they say they feel comfortable in here and they can always have a good conversation because yet again we’re the only bar that the rest of the time only play background music, it’s never loud, we don’t have the flashing lights, like all the other gay bars do, we’re like more of a traditional pub. The only time I have loud music, flashing lights is when we actually have the performers on, so it’s actually a change from what we normally do on the other seven days, like seven nights a week. E: Thankyou so much that’s great, I’m just gonna take a little bit of, not the steadiest hand but. Thanks so much, that’s great. A: Let’s get the bar open.

Blondie T1C2 E: Like I said I kind of want this to be you know, a conversation. B: Right. E: So can you tell me a little bit, maybe start by talking to me about how you got into you know stripping, working for the agencies and that kind of thing, talk about, yeah, how it all began. B: Well it all began in 1997 when I was workin at MFI, and I hated the job wir a passion, and what happened was I kind of got to know this girl. I went to school wir er but I didn’t know her at school, and she was workin in the Brunny, and at the time I just thought it was gonna be like podium dancin, and she asked me and a couple of me friends to go through one night, and we went through and we weren’t expectin anything at all to what we saw when we got there. We asked a coupla people in the street, it was in South Shields, we asked a coupla people in the street where it was and there was this woman and she was like “what you goin there for?” you know what I mean? And we just weren’t expectin it. So we got there, and we walked basically in one door seein a girl on stage wir er boobs out and walked straight out the other door in shock. And this lass I knew wasn’t a topless dancer, it was just dancin in your underwear cos ye could do that at the Brunny but it was topless dancin and strippin which I didn’t think at the time have it in the North East, cos I was 101

and then I met Carol, cos only, what, twenty? So that Enid used to have a club was that, and then she kept called The Vic aswell, and sayin y’know ye should give I met Carol and she was it a go, and I was like nah, like “do you strip?” and I no way I’m ever ever gonna was like “no, I don’t actudo anything like that, and I ally” and erm it was a Sundidn’t really think I could do day afternoon, they used to it, and then what I did was, have a lot of clubs on back I lost me job, cos I walked then and it was in Sunderout, and erm I couldn’t land, erm, Cheers. It was claim nothing, so I had it in the east end of Hindon, and the backa me mind I’ll try I just thought I was dancin, the Brunny, and I needed she kind of tricked us into it easy money quick, so I got, and a couple of friends were I took the, like the, what’s sayin “I’m not bein funny that word I’m looking for? but there’s no dancers on a The courage to go off and Sunday, it’s strippin, no no audition. And I remember it no,” and I got there and I ad being a Saturday afternoon, to strip. So when I did one, and it was jam packed back of me other first ones was in the day, and it was fulla near where the Gateshead like men and I just thought Angel is, The Bows and I was goin down to have a look and I had to do an audi- Cline and it was with sometion there and then, so I lent body else that you’re gonna be interviewin, and she was some underwear off one of more experienced than me the girls and I literally got and obviously I didn’t have up on stage for about five nothing but a raincoat and seconds, and I still remema pair of knickers and a bra, ber the song I danced to that was me costume, cos I aswell. It was the “you’re didn’t know, and I remember free to do what you want to lookin at the jukebox and do”, I’ll always remember she goes, I knew her real that, that was me first ever name obviously and she song. And I must’ve been wrote down this stage name up there five seconds cos which I didn’t know at the I was nervous, and then I time, and I was like “what’s come downstairs and Enid that? Thought they called who had it at the time told you such and such?” and us to go back on Tuesdeh, she was like “Aw, it’s me and that’s where it really stage name,” and I was like all began but I never took any clothes off at first, at all, “stage name? Oh my god.” and I just seen ‘Sting - Roxand then it was easy quick money and I only thought to anne’, and I thought for that night I was Roxanne. And meself I’m gonna be there it was really scary because for about a month because the guys actually like, I was you couldn’t get no money so nervous, and I took me off the state for about six bra off and it was just weird, weeks, so I thought I’ll stay and someone pulled me there for six weeks, I was knickers down and I just ran getting about three shifts off the stage, haha, and that a week, so sixty pound a was how it all began. And week was good, better than nothing, I only lived at home, this other person I worked with, very experienced, was I didn’t have any bills. And I doin all these backflips, just stayed there and that’s splits, full PVC getup and when it all really started,

ing like it before in me life. And it was a locked door do, y’know, ticket do, and all these blokes, I just remember it had a mirrored ceilin, I just remember all these blokes were like pilin to T1C3 look to see what was hapE: OK, interview with Blond- penin on stage, so I got curious as well cos I thought ie, and (clap). So I mean if she was just a stripper, and you just want to start where then I just thought oh well you left off. I’ll have a look at this, so I’m stood on a table and I can B: Where I’ve left off. Right, see through the ceilin mirwe used to do this place, ror, and this bloke was like goin back for the days in pure naked, and I just seen Carol. Hahaha, you want to him prayin like that and I see the bad boys? hahaha. thought “what’s he doin?”, I thought “he’s prayin to be E: No, it was just that your able to get hard here,” and cardi was undone and so it what it basically is, I never was funny cos it’s like... ever done anything like this B: Sorry, I thought you were- meself and I never would, but erm you know it was just quite unbelievable, and E: No no no, I was just saying, cos I didn’t realise there she put a condom on him and started y’know givin was a button missing and him a blowjob, and I was I thought, and I was thinkjust standin there thinkin, ing oh god, no, I don’t want I was only about twentyther to be, for your boobs wo, and I’m like “what the to come out and you not to hell is this?”. And I couldn’t know. believe me eyes, and then the best laugh is ‘er husB: You got a flash anyway. band actually drove her up. I was like standing lookin at E: Well yeah. her husband and he’s just B: Erm the blue shows were drinkin e’s pint or whatever, and I look on stage and basically, I remember seein she’s tryin to ride this guy me first ever one, was in a but he couldn’t you know place called The Ferry Tavperform and I’m just like ern in South Shields, which “what the hell’s this? That’s now has been knocked a blue show,” so it entails down, turned into flats or one of the girls havin sex soming I believe. That was a beltin job as well, cos that with a guy on stage, or sexual acts, and it’s soming I was ooh, Thursdeh, Frideh, would never do meself, even Saturdeh nights, and erm though they use protection, there was this one particular night, I was just a dancer but I just thought you know there, topless dancin. There what I’m gonna draw me line, I’m not gettin into this. were topless dancers and Carol asked me a coupla strippers, and on this occatimes and I refused. She got sion I was just doin the into escort work, it’s somdancin, and this girl’d come ing that I’m not interested up from Leeds or Bradford and erm I’d never seen noth- in, I’ve been asked to do it I was like “my God.” And it was an experience and I just kinda, it was so easy, the money, so I just kinda like, I stuck at it. 102

and it’s just not my cuppa tea. I’m not knockin anyone that does it, I know people that do it, it’s not for me. And erm I remember sayin to her husband like “are you alright with this?” and he was just like “wey, enda the day she comes ‘ome to me,” and I went “aww well, fair enough,” but I mean, a lotta guys can’t handle you bein a stripper, let alone, so that wasn’t my bag and I’ve been to another couple in the years, not many when I’ve been like the stripper there and it’s not really, half the time the lads can’t do nothing, but I still, knowin my luck, if I did owt like that, hehe, and I just thought aww, that was a bit of a bad thing I think about strippin, cos you don’t have to do, it’s about tease isn’t it? That’s full on and I think if you want to go and see a prostitute go and see one. I don’t think that’s... I’m not a prude, but that’s not my cuppa tea to be honest. Wasn’t really into blue shows. Never, fortunately never got to go to many of them cos, not my thing. But The Ferry was brilliant. But a lot of Carol’s Middlesbrough girls went along that path to the blue shows and she got a lotta blue work, and then I found meself not gettin much off her. So I was scared to be honest to leave her to go to Suzanne. And then I did eventually, and then it was that long ago I don’t even think she’d done anything, I think I got a phonecall once, like after I’d went to Suzanne, but I was sittin in a flat with the lass that answers Suzanne’s phone and another one of the old stippers, and Carol rang givin me a bit of grief and then one of the strippers just got on the phone and

just basically told ‘er where to ger off, and that was the last, but. Mind I’ve made up wi Carol since, and I’ve done work for afterwards, not for a few year now, but we did make up and I don’t think she bothers with it now. Erm, so now I just stick wi Suzanne but again the business isn’t as good as it used to be, it’s just the way the country is. But to be honest I’ve had so many laughs. I do regret it and I don’t. I regret not doin soming with me life whilst I did it, I would say, cos now I’m find it ‘ard to get proper work, whereas I shoulda maybes went to uni and done soming, but I didn’t cos I was ‘avin so much fun. I was gettin paid to enjoy meself, that’s all I thought about. I ‘ad money and I was ‘avin, me social life was unbelievable, and I think it was hard havin a bloke at the time. The one I was with for about six year, he wasn’t too bad about it, but then I got with someone else, we split about three-and-alf, four year ago. I wouldn’t say it was cos of the job but it didn’t help. D’ye know what I mean? He couldn’t handle it, even though he met me at The Brunny. And I packed in a coupla times, and now I find it ‘ard to meet anybody, and I don’t know if it’s because of what I’ve done. I really can’t answer that, I’m not sure. Maybes it’s just I’m a bit wild, cos I go to a normal job and I’m very hyper, I like to, and I think it’s cos of the strippin, cos my life’s used to bein social. And I’m quite, I was quiet at school and then this has brought us out to be really like wild and loud, boisterous. I think it’s cos of strippin. And like I’ll go to a normal job and I’m just always like y’know, 103

on the ball and everyone’s like. I don’t think I can fit in with normal people, if that makes sense. D’ye know what I mean? It’s like I really don’t think I can because I don’t know, it’s weird, I’m used to, I’ve had like a massive party for the last fifteen year, and when that stops it’s very hard to like get into normal life, and I do find it hard to ger into normal life, I’ll be honest. I’ve had some really horrible jobs and I’ve thought “oh my god, I could go do a job and get like eighty quid in ten minutes, why am I ‘ere?”, y’know what I mean? But it’s not like that now. Plus there’s a age limit on it. And I suppose I’m lucky enough to not look ma age, but y’eve still got to think right, there’s got to be a time when it stops. And I want to, I do miss it the way it was but it’s not as good now, d’ye know, and it’s not as good at all. There’s no money in it anymore, really. E: Why do you think it’s not as good? Like what do you think’s changed? B: I think lapdancin’s a big part of it. I don’t exactly know why but I think strippin’s like back in the day, it’s old fashioned now isn’t it? I think a guy would rather have a one-on-one thing. Unless it’s a stag where the like to see their mate up on stage and that. I think lapdancin’s one of them and I think the clubs can probly make more money cos they’re makin money off the dancers, whereas a pub books a stripper, they normally have to pay don’t the? I think it’s got a lot to do wi that and the way the recession. I think it’s just a sign of the times, I really do think it’s the state the country’s

in and the lapdancin, that’s all I can really think. I can’t really think of anything else. Maybes it’s old hat. Nowadays maybes it’s just, well, see, naked woman, wow. I mean I’m not really one, I wouldn’t want to go see a male stripper cos it doesn’t interest us. That’s just my opinion but I’ve made a lot of money outta these men that has come to see me and, see I think now there just doesn’t seem to be anything, even kissagrams are quiet now, but I think it’s mainly the lapdancin that’s probably, and the recession, that’s all I can really think. Definitely. Pubs are shuttin down and that now. That’s what I think it is. There’s no other reason. E: Erm...can you talk a little bit about how, like there’s a few things that I’ve been thinking about while you’ve been talking, you know you were saying about guys and about not having a boyfriend, all that stuff, and I was wondering whether you on reflection think that doing this work has affected your view of men, or about how you are viewed by men and that kind of thing, and another thing I was gonna ask you to talk about is how would you think of sort of, why do you think, because it is a lot more popular in the North East, there’s a lot more, it’s much more of a like, agencies and that sort of thing. There aren’t so many when you go down South, it was more like B: Clubs, lapdancin. E: Lapdancing clubs, so it’s kind of, it’s not, cos I worked in London. When you’re in London it’s more odd men who go to it, whereas here

you know, when we used to strip you’d see people, I’d see people I knew would come in, and it’d be like normal lads who you’d hang about with would go to these places sometimes. It wasn’t like a weird underbelly so much. B: See I’ve never done it obviously in London. Men up here to people down south, I can’t really answer cos I’m not sure of what the clientele would be like down South. I’ve always fancied it but I don’t know if I’d be liked down there cos I’m different. I imagine, I don’t imagine... They say people’s a lot friendlier in the North East, so, I always wanted to work in Soho for some reason, I don’t know why, just maybes I painted a picture it was gonna be amazin, maybes it wouldn’t be as good cos the men down there are probly gonna be different whereas up here, Whitley Bay was just like the lads like day out on the afternoon, stags would go there from all over. Men up here, erm, about the boyfriend thing. I don’t know if I can blame this cos I’ve got friends, a lot of single friends and a lot are in different situations. It’s like me, I’m single, without kids and I’ve been a stripper and I’ve got a friend who’s got two kids, single, normal housewife, and we both struggle to meet men so I don’t know, cos we’ve had this conversation funnily enough and I’ve said “is it this job?” and she’s gone “well, I don’t know cos I’m in a totally different situation to you but on the men front I can’t seem to find anyone decent either.” So I don’t know if I can blame the job. I don’t think it helps. 104

this stripper from MiddlesI really don’t. I really don’t brough and she was a lovely think it helps at all, but you lookin thing, long blonde ‘air, get people who can handle lovely, she was gay, and I it and people who can’t, bur remember bein on a job wir erm, as I say I don’t really know much about the clien- ‘er and I remember thinkin I really wanna climb in that tele. I’ve met people from bed and kiss ya, and I dunno down South that’s come why, it was just this stupid up to Whitley Bay or wherthought and it never entered ever I’ve been workin and me head again. I think I just they love it up here, cos I got that split second of bithink we’ve got more crack, curiousy, and then I thought I really do. I would love to ‘ang on, I don’t like wombe able to go down to Lonen. And there’s a lot of girls don and see with me own who think the are but like I eyes what it’s all about. say I’m gonna be honest it I’m so curious about that crossed me mind that split because I don’t think it’s second all them years ago gonna be anything like up but, never since, but I can here. I imagine you get a lot of foreign girls workin down kiss a girl and think nothing of it, but I know that I’m still there whereas up here it’s straight. So that was anothmainly locals, so it’s people er point I wanted to point just like me, workin just to out, it’s weird, it’s weird. make a bit of money, and I’ve made a lot of friends out E: I’m so happy you brought of it but I’ve met, as I said before, a lot of like bad peo- that up because you know what, I never thought about ple in this job and a lot of good people. More bad than it, but I think it’s the same for me because I rememgood. You get a lot of peober having moments where ple tryin to do you over and I danced and thought, pretend to be your friend, because you start, because there’s a lot of girls actuyou start to look at a woman ally think they’re bisexual, because what you’re doing and they’re not, and I think isthat is soming as well with this job, you can be conB: Because you’re with fused about yer sexuality. I them all the time. never have been, but I’m not gonna lie, the thought E: Yeah, and also, what has crossed me mind years you’re doing as a stripper I ago, and I thought, there was this girl working in Mid- suppose is you’re displaying yourself as a sexual dlesbrough and I thought, I object and what you start don’t, I do not fancy women doing, you start looking at whatsoever, but I’ve done the women around you as lesbian acts at work for like the jug collection, glass col- objects, who can be, you know, and you start seeing lection, done all o’that, and them for their beauty, for I know I’m not gay but I can their physical beauty, you kiss a girl and think nothing of it, but I know I’m straight, start looking at them perhaps as a man would. if that makes sense. And y’know I’ve had lesbian B: Maybe, yeah, cos as I say, acts, you know what that in a normal world you don’t entails, but the, years ago it crossed me mind, there was get to see many people’s

boobs or fannies and that. T1C4 B: and without sounding horrible inside and out, y’know what I mean, I’ve watched so many, worked with so many, I’ve seen everything and the average person my age probably hasn’t, well the won’t ‘ave, because it’s not normality is it, to be seein people naked like all the time. So yeah, that is another point of the matter, uh-huh. I’ve never had like a lesbian fling, but I’ve had like a few moments on stage but that’s been, it’s an act, but yeah, I’ve seen some things on a regular basis. E: How do you feel about like, what do you think, what service do you think as a stripper you were providing, you know say that you were going to a pub or a Sunday club, you know in the old school stripping sense. What service do you think it is that you’re providing? B: That’s a good question really. The service what I was providing, there’s two types of customers I’d say, or maybe three. You’ve got yer youg lads who want to have a good look and maybes go home and pur’it in their mind, then you’ve got the older blokes who are like they kind of stalk, they go to every single strip bar and there’s still some now that hang about from when I started. And I don’t want to say they’re like perves or anythign like that but I think they get off on seein it, and you see the regular people every week, and then you’ve got your other ones who are probly just a lad’s day out on a stag party, just for a laugh. 105

mean there’s dirty magaBack in the day, I mean zines, they buy them don’t now they don’t really prothe? There’s Zoo and what vide strippers for a Sunday have you, there’s the top club, the last one just come shelf and, yeah, it’s hard to off a few month ago, but I explain really. think it just got, we used to do one called the Fairhome E: Do you think that, do you and they ever used to look think that possibly you’re up from playin cards, and it saying it’s not sexual. Do was like what is the point in you think maybe it could wastin like money payin to be a power thing? A thing see it, and then that’s evenabout roles in society, like tually come off as well, but a man’s role in society and I think it was just a regular thing on a Sunday but these a woman’s role in society, and do you think that having one offs I think it’s just a a woman do that could be lad’s get together isn’t it? Like a pie and peas, a come- some kind of power thing, or do you thinkdian, mainly Christmas, a lot of, well not as much now but a lot of like stuff went on B: Yeah, it could be a power thing. But part of doin this, then, it’s just for the lads a cos you do kinda have them treat isn’t it? I don’t actually think it’s sexual. Sometimes. in your power. You do kinda have them in your power I dunno, I can’t answer it cos you’ll know, when we because sometimes you did Whitley Bay it’s like, it’s, think are these actually I’m trying to get the right getting off on this? You’re way to explain it, it’s, yeah, probly gonna get the odd cos you’ve got them there one who are, y’know what ‘aven’t ya? I kind of think it I mean, but then there’s a is a power but people think couple’s just like... I spoke you pull every time but you to a couple and they’re like don’t, you get the odd one “to be honest it does nowt that’s all and you write it off for us, it’s a work’s night really, you don’t... But yeah, out,” and y’know they’re not I think it is a lot to do with being nasty to me, cos I’ve power, I wouldn’t say I’m the had a crack with the lads most confident person in and they’re like, y’know, “it the world but I’ve got a lot does nothing for me, it’s more confidence outta doin just a lad’s night out, but this, cos if you’d met me I’m not knocking it, but I at school I was like a wallwouldn’t be one of these who like follows yers about,” flower, I was so quiet and I think because I got bullied and I’m like fair enough, if a bit I think I rebelled into you’ve just come for a lad’s doin this. So when I got the night out. If I went for a hen chance to do it I was like party and somebody was yeah, I’ll do this, watch, and like “oh we’re going to see it’s give me the confidence, male strippers,” I would go I’ve been to school reunions because it was a hen party and I’ve actually bragged but I wouldn’t choose to go about it cos I wanted them see a male stripper meself to see the new me y’know, because it’s not what I’m and I’d be like “oh yeah, I’m into, I wouldn’t find it a turn a dancer now, haha,” and all on to be honest. Men are the lads that picked on us different from women as are like “oh god, you’re lush,” you probably know, haha. I

and all that now, y’know and I’m like “yeah, tough,” so yeah it has been a power thing I’d say, definitely. E: What about, do you think power, like male power? B: Male power, from them comin to see us? I think it’s probably like a bloke who’s married or got a girlfriend it’s a little bit naughty isn’t it cos you’re lookin at another woman, but on the other hand it’s not a bad thing cos he’s not cheatin and he’s not gettin a one-on-one dance. I think it just goes with football, beer, stags, lads, it’s just, well it was back in the day, football even, cos that used to have a lot of work in it, but again not now. Yeah, probably, power for the man yeah, I would say so. E: It’s just kind of in the sense that, y’know, in a way when we take our clothes out we’re showing, what we’re selling is our image, we’re selling the image of ourselves, like we are, y’know, kind of like a fantasy for them, like the image of a fantasy, the way that we dress, like, I think costumes are interesting, things like y’know, cos it can kind of represent a totally archetypal image of like a whore for instance, or of like a schoolgirl, always these archetypal images of women, it’s not the real you. You put a costume on and you become a schoolgirl, and what is that, what are you selling then to the man? B: See these days it’s quite hard doin the likes of schoolgirls now because it’s dodgy isn’t it, with all what the world is like now, but erm yeah y’are, it’s fantasy, I mean half the guys in the 106

audience probably think that you’re dressed like that doin your hooverin and you’re not, haha, y’know what I mean. That’s how shallow they can be though. And we’re all just normal people. We, I mean, we are really, but as I was sayin before it’s weird cos we ‘aven’t got a normal life but we are just normal people, if that makes any kind of sense. Cos we’re not really, because of this, but we are. I don’t go outside dressed as a stripper. If I go for a night out I like to get dressed up and that but you get some who are strippers and they dress up as strippers on a night out and I don’t do that, cos I don’t wanna go to the corner shop lookin like one. Not that I’m ashamed of it but people that don’t need to know don’t need to know. Y’know if I get a full time job I don’t tell anybody about this, not because I’m embarassed but because narrow mindedness. I don’t want to be judged because people’s got the wrong idea of it ‘aven’t they, you know? So I don’t like to be judged. So I tend to keep it quiet the best part of the time. E: I always told people, it didn’t really bother me and I kind of think now, I wonder why I wasn’t bothered about it cos I don’t know if I’d want to now. B: I’m not like I say embarassed by it at all, like I say I’ve got a lot of regrets and no regrets. The only regrets I’ve got is not doin something with me life as well as doin it, cos I just got on this high like, it was a rollercoaster, everything was mint, y’know what I mean, everything was fantastic, and I do regret not doin

studyin as well, d’y’know, cos I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now, but on the whole I definitely don’t regret doin it, and if I could do it all again I would. Definitely. E: And, can I, just because I wanna, for you to talk a little bit about what the process would be and maybe describe the kind of places you’d go to, y’know like I’m talking about what the sort of set up would be, say you had a load of clubs on a Sunday, actually maybe, I’ve got to pop to the loo quickly and maybe after that we can quickly talk about the Sunday clubs and what the whole process is because people won’t know you know, you get picked up at your house by a driver and all that stuff, I’m just gonna... T1C5 B: Probably the commission payin day of the whole week, that’s how much work we used to get because on a Sunday we used to use our money for the week y’know. And it just consisted of, back in the day you used to get three or four clubs, erm, driver would like pick you up from yer door and you’d pay him so much per club, I think it was seven pound per club, and then erm we got, aww it was only about thirty pound but you know it still was alright really, and we used to get picked up from the door, took over to like numerous clubs on a Sunday, half the time used to meet up with the other girls that were workin, and then it was just a show on stage for like two records, and like I say it was just so, what’s that word I’m lookin for, it was just the norm on a Sun-

day, you worked every Sunday without.... Guarantee you did, like I say I worked every night, but Sunday clubs, that was what happened there. Some of them were awful, some were alright, but then one by one they’ve just all come off now unfortunately. I think it just got to be the norm and sign of the times, recession, and there’s not one on now. The last one Greendon came off about two, three month ago, erm, sad tale but it wasn’t even worth goin out for one club to be fair, so it all just stopped, but we had some great times on the Sundehs, just involved a lot of drinkin, havin a laugh and aww it was great, I really miss it, to be honest, I really do, badly. But, nothing you can really do about it now. E: I just realised that I haven’t really asked about working for an agency, like structure, you know, maybe talk a little bit about what would happen with that, maybe commission, where it would go, you know all that? B: Well, working for an agency, I mean you had to really, you couldn’t really do it on your own cos it’s too much hassle. You usually would like phone up on a Monday, and then get your work that way. You put yer commission in the bank, dependin on what jobs you got you could get like kissagram, stripagram and just a topless one, all are different rates. It would be maybes what, back in the day it was about forty-five pound for a kissagram whereas now it’s sixty-five, erm, it was fortyfive, fifty-five and sixty-five, whereas now it’s sixtyfive, seventy-five, eighty107

five I believe. It’s that long since I’ve done one. And Suzanne took twenty three fifty percent off every hundred pound. That wasn’t too bad really, I mean when you were gettin crackin work it wasn’t bad at all, and you just had to pay that into her bank account and you tended to get more work if you paid your commission on time which I always did cos I would never rip anyone off and erm, we just used to do it that way and ring in on a Monday but it was definitely better workin for an agency, she used to supply the drivers at the time but yeah, it was really, it was OK workin for Suzanne and as I say I still do bits and pieces now for her so, erm, but it’s easier, it’s no good goin freelance really cos it’s just there’s too much, too much hassle, you’re best leavin it to like the agencies. But yeah the agencies, I worked at one for a long long time. It was easy, you just used to ring up and I can remember like having a book by me phone writin down all the jobs. People’d be shocked if I could find them books now, jot down the work I had back then to now and it’s just quite sad how it’s gone so quiet. But yeah we had, Suzanne used to sort out all the work for us. E: K, thanks. I’m just getting some shots. B: The jazzy slippers. This is to prove I don’t wear the glass shoes in the house. E: It’s just, my hand isn’t extremely, y’know, just want to get some so it’s like, probably gonna shake too much. It’s just like a good way to not show your face

B: I’ll put me hands on me face n’all. Should stop doin that. E: It occured to me as well that filming your hands I’m filming your boobs, which maybe isn’t the best thing considering what this thing is about, but I mean that’s fine, I think that’s, y’know it’s just to get like a few different shots. Trying to think if there’s any other things that are particularly relevant to mention in terms of y’know... B: We’ve covered like lesbian acts, that was for extra money, erm, ooh. E: Glass collection, we forgot about that. B: Yeah, the whip-rounds, they really make your money up, you just go round with a glass and you get some money off each guy, I mean a lot put in a lot don’t. I think the best little earner we’ve got at the moment is probably The Eagle in Newcastle, not sure if you remember doin that, you possibly did, yeah, you will have done, that’s a good little earner but there’s that many of us now and not much work it’s, you don’t get it very often y’know, but that’s, at the minute, you get a lot of Irish stags there, erm, I was there about two weeks ago, we did OK, it was alright. With this young girl, she’s lovely, only eighteen but I wish she could’ve joined when I started cos it was much better, now it’s not the same. She loved it cos she’s like a lapdancer, and she works through Redcar, and she’s, her first strip job was with me last week and she says “y’know I can understand why you say it’s so good

now cos it’s much better than lapdancin,” and I was like “yeah, cos it’s different, it’s a good crack.” And I’ve tried lapdancin and I really don’t like it. I like to get a set wage, bit whip round if I’m lucky go home and that’s it, I hate havin to to go round and work for me money cos I’m lazy old school, but I find, I’ve tried the lapdancin, it’s just not me like. It really isn’t. It’s not good for me. It’s not my bag. E: Yeah, I know what you mean. B: It just goes to show you there’s a new girl, you’ve started all this, and she’s sayin “oh but it’s better than lapdancin,” well, there you go. You need to ‘ave somethin with a crack and a laugh don’t you, I think you do anyway. Definitely. E: Easy as well isn’t it? B: Oh so easy, yeah. You don’t even think that you’ve got no clothes on, you just get on wir it. I think there’s been a couple of times it’s dawned on us, cos you switch off and a couple of times it’s dawned on us I’m like “oh my god, I’ve got nothing on, what am I doin?” but then you just think “aah.” It’s just so much fun. I still get nervous though, I’m not gonna lie there. You still get a bit nervous when you’ve never been somewhere before and you’re like “what’s it gonna be like?” but other than that, yeah, I definitely have no regrets like. I haven’t been a bad person cos I’ve done it. And I’d say it’s easy to ger into and hard to ger out of. I definitely would say that, cos you get used to the money. I’ve always been used to havin, 108

don’t gerrus wrong I’ve never been rich but I’ve been able to get by and, y’know, I went out and blew money and just thought I’ll make it again tomorrow. Can’t do that now. That’s the real struggle it’s got on your future is because you’ve been that used to havin it and then when it goes it’s just a bit of a nightmare. So what’s the bad thing about strippin? The good thing is the crack, the money and the experience but the bad thing is when it all ends it’s just you lose a big chunk of what you’re used to, and it’s not just the money it’s the crack and the socialisin. Money mainly but it’s everything else that goes with it I would say, but what can you do? E: Erm, do you think there’s been any, do you see any difference between places you’ve worked, say if you’ve worked in different parts of the North East? B: I’d say the different places I’ve worked, erm, the different parts of the North East, the only place I would never very a fan of is Teesside. Can’t put me finger on why, I just find the people a bit strange and I don’t know why, I really don’t, whether it, like that way all Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar, I mean I did a place at Ripon on Wednesday and it’s just like, it’s not like up here, it’s just a total... It’s hard to explain, it’s so weird. The people are different and I don’t really enjoy doin Teesside, but everywhere else, Newcastle, Sunderland’s been fine. I’ve even been, like parts of Scotland’s been okay, but I think Teesside is a really, out of the whole North East, it’s plac-

es I don’t enjoy as much, definitely. E: And erm, I’m just gonna do something quickly, focus it. I’m gonna pop it back on it’s thing... That’s really interesting cos I feel exactly the same way. B: Yeah, I can’t put me finger on it, it’s just Middlesbrough I’ve never enjoyed up Teesside. I’m not a fan of the place. I find it very different to what it is here. And again I can’t put me finger on it but I just, I just don’t enjoy it at all. I’ve never had really bad bad jobs there but it’s always been a bit different. Like hard to put your finger on but I don’t like Middlesbrough. Don’t like Teesside really. T1C6 E: Blondie take four (clap). B: Goin back to talkin about Middlesborough, I can’t actually put me finger on it but it’s just not a place I like. Teesside. I’m always like ugh no when I go there, we used to do this place called Silks, on a Thursdeh night in Redcar and my god I can’t even explain it, it was sposed to be a night club but it wasn’t anything, Ripon’s exactly the same, and they were two like least favourite jobs cos it was just a nightmare, it was miles away, the money wasn’t fantastic but it was regular, I used to get Silks every Thursdeh but then I got to the point where I used to dread Thursdeh comin along because I hated it that much. It was just a horrible place to work and the bouncers didn’t look after ya, you used to get some really strange people in, and

it’s not like it was round ‘ere. I eventually packed it in cos I was able to wirout it cos there was still plenty o’work, but erm nah, never did enjoy anything down neck of the wood. I still go now if something’s on, like I went to Ripon on Wednesday, but it was, it was just a waste of time really but it was a job I suppose, so. But yeah I’m not a fan of workin down Middlesbrough. Down that end. Weird but, I liked Whitley Bay, I loved Whitley Bay like Rio’s and that, that was just again absolutely amazing, can’t even put into words, loved it that much. I used to so look forward to goin. I was devastated when Graham decided to sell it. Absolutely gutted. It did come back on under the new owners but it was never the same, and it’s shut down altogether now I believe. It was Aruba, and now it’s shut down altogether, so that was out the winda. I think once Rio’s shut, that was kinda the end of the strippin cos nowhere’s been able to beat it. There’s loadsa bars on now and they just can’t light a match to it. Never will be able to. But apparently Whitley Bay’s finishin soon cos the laws are changin. So that’s all gonna go very soon, I think it’s this year. Erm. It’s just never gonna be the way it was, ever, in a million years unfortunately. It’s a shame. But I mean like I say, I don’t bother with costumes now cos it’s like what’s, nobody really appreciates a costume now. I think it’s classed as bein’ old fashioned when you do it that way so nobody really bothers wir it now, which is a shame but there you go, what can you do? E: Do you think the inter109

net’s had any effect on stripping? B: It probably did y’know cos you can just watch anything from the comfort of your own home. So I didn’t even think about that before but yeah, it probably has got soming to do wir it. Cos you can get anything on it can’t you? Anything in the world you can get on the internet wirout leavin the house, so quite possibly, yes. I would say the internet has got a lot to do wir it as well. Cos you can watch stuff for free can’t you? You don’t have to go out and, it’s not the same cos you need, I think you need to have the crack as well rather than just sittin in a house, but people’s different aren’t they? You can get porn or whatever or stuff that us strippers don’t provide, you can get on the net, so it probably did have a lot to do wir it to be honest, yeah. E: What’s your most memorable experience, you know like stories from places? B: Ooh now I’ll have to think cos there’ll probly be a few memorable stories. I would probly say the ones I mentioned before when I first started at the Bows and Cline, the raincoat and this bra and knickers and, that was quite memorable, I’ll never forget that. Aww there’ll be loads and when you go I’m gonna remember them, haha. I’m tryin to think, memorable stories. We’ve had a load really but I can’t even think of any off the top of me head. I’d say all of Rio’s was memorable cos it was so much fun, and erm, y’know, I do remember odd jobs where I’ve met some brilliant people and

I’ve sat back after and had a drink with them and loads of stuff like that. Made some brilliant new people, made some amazin people out of it, really have. Bur erm, I forget as well, and there’s a lot I remember, it’s mad. Had some good times in The Brunny as well, that was like, probably one of the best places I’ve worked as well. I just think it’s sad now that it’s all over. It isn’t but it is if you know what I mean. It makes us feel really sad to be honest, but I can’t do it much longer anyway, gettin too old. E: What d’you wanna do now? B: Well, I just want a normal job where I’m gonna be able to make enough to live on really. Probably go back into retail, I was working at River Island before Christmas and, I find that I really enjoyed it and liked it, so I’m goin to get back into retail. If not I’m doin a computer course to find admin work, so I’m tryin. I’m just lookin. That’s what I wanna do now. And I’d still do odd bits of this if it comes up and I still look like I can do it for extra money. It’s like a drug, it’s hard to give up, it’s an addiction, kind of thing I’d say, definitely. It’s a bit of an addiction to be honest. And it makes you who you are today I reckon. E: D’you think? Can you imagine what your life would have been like if you hadn’t? B: I always wonder that to be honest, I always wonder. And I don’t know whar it would be like, I don’t know if I could be sittin here with kids and married now, I

don’t know. Would I be like managin me own company? I don’t know. Would I be doin me dream job of bein a journalist, I don’t know. It’s hard to say isn’t it? I wish I could see where I woulda been in a way, but I don’t know. E: So your dream job is being a journalist? B: Yeah. That’s what I shoulda done, I shoulda went to uni but I didn’t. Nevermind. E: It’s not too late. B: Yeah, it’s money though isn’t it? It’s fundin meself, that’s what’s... E: If you’ve not studied before though you’ll get a student loan. B: Might be worth lookin into, I’d have to be a mature studentE: D’you know that one of my best friends did the journalism degree at Sunderland university and it’s one of the best in the country, and it’s literally, literally like over there, and she did it and now she’s doing journalism in Korea and places like that and d’you know what it’s so easy, when you go to uni as a mature student they love you. They give you loads of grants, you can get grants. I would say I just live on my loan, my loan covers my rent, it covers my bills and it’s fine to live on, then you can apply for extra money, you can apply for busaries from the universities, it’s so easy. If you’ve never been to uni before, you’ll have four years of funding, and you know what, if you want me to help you write a personal statement 110

so you can do your application and talk you through the process I’d be so happy to do that because I’ve done it all myself. B: Oh right well that could be an idea. Yeah, I would love to do it but like I say just livin on me own I’m thinkin how’d I be able to afford the rent cos it’s quite expensive, y’know it’s over a hundred pound a week. E: Yeah, but my rent’s a hundred pounds a week. B: Well it will be in Brighton. E: In Brighton, just for a room. B: Oh god yeah, I mean I suppose this is not bad... E: You can still get housing benefit if you’re a student, you can’t get income support or jobseekers but you can still get thingy, housing benefit. Seriously it’s totally worth looking into. My friend did that degree and she absolutely loved it, she said it was the best. B: Can you put some feelers out and just get me information. Fabulous, right that’s fantastic, yeah, please do that. E: Also I’ll friend suggest you on facebook with my friend who did the degree so you have info. I’ve been to, all their like facilities are amazing, they’ve just got brilliant state of the art computers and labs and the teaching’s amazing. B: Right, find out what I need to do. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but it’s money that’s stopped us. Cos I thought I know I

can do it, cos I’m still young enough technically to do it, but see what you can do, thankyou. E: Will do. I’m trying to think if there’s anything else so I don’t leave and then think... B: I know, I’m thinkin once you’ve gone I’m gonna be ringin you up sayin “is there any chance y’can pop back round cos...” E: I’m gonna be coming up again to do this anyway, so if we need another one. Do you have any memories of me when we worked together? B: I do, yeah, I remember you had blonde ‘air didn’t ya? Yeah. You were very burlesquey weren’t you, you were more like that. Aye, I remember doin Whitley Bay and that, we did allsorts of places didn’t we really, when you think about it. Do you remember The Rockies? E: Yes. B: Well there you go, we did Rockies a lot, then it changed to The Eagle, and Rockies was better than The Eagle to be fair but now it’s still The Eagle and, yeah, I do and I think the last time I saw you was Whitley Bay and I’m sure we got the Metro back together. We did didn’t we? And there was another girl and I can’t remember who that was. There was definitely three of us. Cos I remember there was me, you and someone else and we all got the Metro home together, walked up to Whitley Bay station. We didn’t have a driver that way. E: Was it ******?

B: It might possibly have been her, yeah. E: D’you know what she does now? B: Ohh, that’s another story, that is another story that. Erm, no, she’s not, she caused loads of trouble with loads of people, she’s heavily into the naughty stuff y’know. Nasty piece of work. I believe the last I heard she was escortin online, erm, but she’s, Suzanne had a lot of trouble with her and she’s basically called everyone behind our backs and that, and she thought she was superior enough to be given every job that came in cos she had three kids, like she was entitled to work cos she had three kids. No I’ve never seen Claire for about maybe three four year. Person I’m really glad’s out of my life. I mentioned before you meet some great people and you meet some bad ones, that’s a person I’m glad I’m not involved with anymore to be honest with you. If I see her again it’ll be too soon, put it that way. Yeah, very very bitter end, me and her, her and a few people. She bullied a few of the new girls that started who’s workin now, you know they’re really nice girls and she’s ended up gettin her head kicked in by a couple of them, just for like bein an idiot, so yeah, she’s not a person I miss at all, so there you go, yeah.

Emily E: K, interview with Emily on the first of Feb 2012. Can you just sort of, I just want to check, about the volume, can you kind of talk now? Emily (M): Right. What do you want us to say? E: That’s fine, just to check... M: Just to check the volume. E: Yep. I think it’s working. OK. OK if you speak again for a minute? M: Wait there I’m gonna actually cough me head off. Eh, I’ll just speak normally. E: That’s fine, that’ll be perfectly fine year. Right, OK, erm, so, the first thing that I’m asking everybody is just to kind of talk about, like bearing in mind that I’m kind of wanting to think mostly about, I’m interested in the sort of stripping scene with agents and how it worked, you know, I want to sort of, cos it’s really unique, it’s something that is, like I’ve worked over the country in other places where there are agencies and sort of the structure in the North East is completely unique, it’s different from other places and I think it’s kind of, the reason for doing it is partly cos I want to understand a chunk of my life and also you know because it’s really interesting like I think that for me anyway the reason that I did it is because I didn’t want to have a normal job and I didn’t want to be like everybody else, I wanted to have like, you know you don’t want to get sucked inM: Like the freedom.

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E: -to 9 to 5, it’s freedom yeah, and I just think it’s interesting as, what I want to know, I suppose the first question would be about, maybe if you could describe how you got into it? M: Ehm... E: Oh yeah, and another couple of things I have to mention. People who I, my voice won’t be in it so people won’t know, say I say ‘what were your costumes like?’, if you go ‘ah, they were like....’, you have to go ‘in terms of costumes we used to...’ and think about the fact that people won’t know what the question is, and another thing is I won’t speak while you’re speaking otherwise I’ll be going mmhmm, yeah, mmhmm, so I’ll be really quiet. M: Right okay. How I started ehm, I was about sixteen years old when I first started and I met, I hung around with a girl who I’d knew from school and she always wanted to be glamour model, but she didn’t know how to get into it and we met a guy in ehm, in a club in town, just a nightclub and he basically ran the dancers at one o’ the bars in town for the match days, so he asked us to go down and audition and I only did it really to help ma friend, and she never ended up carryin on doin it and I ended up doin it from then on, and then I joined a local agency and just went from there really, I worked for them for quite a few years before there was any lapdancin clubs in Newcastle. I think I worked for four years before any opened, so just as a stripper really. 112

E: And what was the agency that you joined and can you talk to me a bit about, you know, I know that I know all this but, you know, how did you first feel when you first dances and can you remember like, what are the experiences you most remember about that period where you were working for an agent, what was your impression of it? M: I really enjoyed workin for an agent, it was Playboys International that I first started with, and I just loved the travel part of it, I loved the fact that I was makin a lot of money and I could work when I wanted so I just had a freedom to choose when I wanted to work and was earnin quite a lot of money. I was travellin up and down the country, meetin a lot of fun girls and gettin a lot of attention and I think for someone my age, sixteen seventeen at the time I just really enjoyed it. I loved it, I loved the attention. So I wasn’t really that nervous when I first started, if I had o’ started when I was older I think I woulda been a lot more nervous, so. I can imagine I wasn’t a very good dancer when I first started but I wasn’t too nervous. I worked in a few different bars in Newcastle and then worked for the agency as well and we used to travel all over, like we used to go away for weekends, I used to go to, obviously ehm to the TT races and things later on, ehm, got to travel all over and I’ve never really done any like travellin round even the country before that so it was quite excitin for us. E: What kind of erm, what were the things that you would, can you describe like

a few of the jobs that you would go to? M: Ehm, there was different, they were always different and that was another good thing about it what made it quite excitin was you never knew what to expect when you turned up unless you’d been there before. A lot of them were for ehm match days, things like that, ehm, but other ones were just like for private parties, things like that, so you would just turn up, do a strip, stripogram for someone’s birthday or what have you but then there was other ones where there would be a big troupe of us go away and there’s be like ehm a gentleman’s evenin on so we’d all have to do a stage show and things like that so they were good money as well, so quite a few different types of jobs that I used to go on. E: What were your favourite jobs? M: Ehm. I quite, I actually quite liked the stripogram ones because you were in and out in like fifteen minutes and you were paid like upfront so it wasn’t just on tips and things like that which some jobs were, like some jobs you would mebbes get quite a low amount but then you’d make your money off the whip round, when you go round with a glass so ehm, so I think the stripogram jobs were definitely my favourite ones. E: And erm, was there anything that, was there anything that really shocked you? M: Off the top of ma head, well there’s hundreds of

times, I’m always tellin my friends about it actually, but off the top o’ ma head I’m tryin to think. It’s other dancers that normally shocked me sometimes just because of the way some girls actually dance, I think I always had a bit of respect for myself so I knew I was bein paid anyway and I didn’t have to do anything like extra filthy to make some money which I think it shocked us sometimes cos I was quite young and I was workin with older girls and I would turn up for jobs and they would do things that I just wouldn’t really agree with but there was nothin I could really do about it, and obviously if you’ve got to follow a show like that it’s sometimes a bit dauntin because they kind of expect you to do the same and if you’re not like that it’s a little bit dauntin, so I think girls are the ones that shocked us most, men never really shocked us that much ehm, they were normally quite well behaved I think. In the years that I’ve danced, in the 12 years that I’ve danced I’ve never been, I’ve only been like, someone’s only tried to manhandle us like twice or somethin in that whole time which, to me, after all the dancin I’ve done is quite a little amount really, than you’d expect, so. E: What were the shows like that these girls would do? M: Ehm, well there was a couple o’ girls, obviously not namin any names, that would do show that I found, they were just a little bit dirty, they would like basically play with themselves, even use like instruments on their selves, which was 113

really shockin because it’s not supposed to be a porn show, it’s supposed to be exotic dancin or strippin or whatever you wanna call it, it’s not supposed to be a sex show is it? So that was quite shockin. And some o’ them would get guys up, I’ve heard of them puttin bottles up their bums, the guy’s bums, that was quite recent that happened. Ehm, I didn’t see that happen but it did happen and I just thought it’s not really the most attractive thing is it? And it’s supposed to be sexy, your dance, it’s not supposed to be like shockin like that really. I think some strippers are, just do it to shock, like they’re not really sexy dancers really, I think they actually do it for the shock tactics, like pretendin to wee in pint glasses, things like that, ehm, it’s not very sexy is it? So... E: What do you think...what do you think the reasons are then that different girls, do you think, why did you start dancing, what do you think the reasons are that other people would do it? M: The reasons for people startin dancin... I think in the beginnin when I first started there was a certain type of girl that did the job. Ehm, everyone was a bit crazy, a little bit fun. Now different people do it, you’ve got all sorts of people, students, everything because it’s a lot more open now, people are more open about it and it’s not as much of a taboo, but when I first started I was quite, I was a little bit of a tearaway when I was younger and I couldn’t keep down a normal job at the time. I was partyin, goin out a lot, ehm, and just the nine

til five thing bored us to tears so it just fitted in with ma life better and I don’t know, it just seemed to be a lot of money for not that much work, so the more money you can make from less work the better really, so that was kind of my motto, but other people, some people started for a confidence boost I think, mebbes, I think most people do it for the money really but I mean I don’t think the money’s really that in it anymore as what it used to be. In fact it’s actually lessened when it should’ve went up really with obviously inflation and things over the last ten years, it should’ve actually, the money should be higher now but whereas jobs used to be, you used to get say a hundred pound for a strip job, you’ll get jobs now where it’s like seventy pounds so they’ve gone down like, gone down thirty pound and it should’ve actually, shouldn’t have gone down it should’ve gone up by now. It’s because people try to undercut people and there’s a lot more girls do it now. It’s tons of competition now. I think in the North East when I first started there was only, that I knew there was only like ten strippers in the North East but that was includin Sunderland, Middlesbrough actually to be honest, there wasn’t many around. E: Yeah I remember actually that there were like hardly any, and nobody that I knew did it and then it was cos of you that I started doing it, haha. That’s why I was really happy when you said that you’d do the interview. M: Yeah well I thought obviously we’ve knew eachother

years and well you started with me as well and some of the jobs we did together and things like that. E: Can you remember any of those jobs? Can you remember anything from like when we worked together? M: I remember one job that we worked together on and it was hilarious, we erm, I think we got picked up in Newcastle and taken to some really rough bar in somewhere like Peterlee or somethin like that and I think we were a bit tired but we turned up and it was one of the worst jobs I’ve actually ever done. They didn’t have any music, we had to dance to the radio and we had to wait for the guy to stop speakin and we had to dance to the radio. I think the guys in there had about 2p to rub between them so when we did a whip round they were puttin three pence in and things, so it was a total nightmare job. I’m sure one of us forgot our shoes as well so it was just a total mess, so that’s, I really remember that one, that’s one I remember more than anything, I always tell my friends about that one, dancin to the radio. E: Hahahaha, I’d completely forgotten about that. I remember it was that really dodgy pub and I remember turning up because I hadn’t been doing it for very long, I remember it was literally one of the first ones for Karen I remember turning up in this village, we were driven by this driver... M: Was that the one with the glasses? Eurgh. E: I’d forgotten about danc114

used to have to do a pose ing to the radio, so funny. on the stage and all stand Did you ever do, can you in a line and ehm that was talk about, something I’m a bit embarassin, but yeah, interesting because apparthey were good jobs those. ently stripping in the North You would kind of dance East started in working men’s clubs, so I’m interest- on the tables and stuff ed in hearing about the Sun- wouldn’t ye? You would day Clubs, something I nev- get called over to tables and you’d just be dancin on er did. Did you ever do? tables all night and someM: I’ve done them a few times people would ask for times yeah, I used to get private dances as well, but sent to them sometimes. It it was mainly just shows was mostly pubs though and table, like dancin on the I used to get sent to, but I tables, so, I’ve never done did do workin men’s clubs anything like that for a long on a Sunday sometimes, ehm, I can’t really remember time, I don’t think they really do nights like that anymore, much about it, it was basiI think they were quite good. cally just the same as when The guys all used to turn up you do it in a bar. It was all in tuxedos and things, so a men there, they’d normally lot of them were quite high have a couple of girls on so rollers as well, always had you’d dance to a song each money on them. So that was and then you would dance a good earner. together and do a two girl show, and that’s what you E: I remember doing one would get your whip round with you, I think it was like for. It was quite a similar Leeds or somewhere and it setup to when you would get hired by a bar as well, so was this massive hall, and there were some sisters, it’s pretty similar to that. two sport model sisters and E: And what about, cos we they did a lesbian show, that did some of the like sport is hands down the most things together that Carol shocking thing I’ve ever used to get. Do you want to seen in my whole life. talk about that? M: Yeah, the sport events were some of me favourite jobs actually cos we always made a fortune but they were quite hilarious cos normally two agencies would come together so ehm, there would be Playboys International and then there would be Dawn Love’s agency and her girls who were all, a lot of them were actually sport models, and they were all a bit crazy as well, so it was always quite fun, ehm, but we used to have to do that embarassin thing at the start where you used to have to come out and they’d call your name and you M: Yeah because they were actually, I remember those two girls at one of the sport shows, the sisters, and bein reminded of it yeah, I remember that, and it was shockin cos they weren’t just kissin and things, which is bad enough anyway for bein sisters, they were like goin down on eachother, wasn’t simulated either, it was a proper lesbian show basically, so that was quite shockin. I think that’s how they made their money though, it’s kind of a novelty isn’t it for some men? E: It’s horrendous, incest.

M: Total incest. E: Incest’s disgusting. OK right so, something that I asked Cath the other day is what kind of a service do you think you’re providing when you strip, when you go somewhere like you know particularly when you go to, like, stripping for a lot of men, what kind of service do you think it is? M: Ehm, the kind of service I think it is, would be, I would see it as entertainment but people see it as different things. Some men come into clubs or where you’re dancin and they’re not interested because they think that, they say things like “what’s the point of this, it’s just teasin,” or even say things like “why would I want to give maself a hard on and then nothing even happen at the end of it?” And it annoys us, it really annoys me that, because I just think it’s entertainment and if you like lookin at beautiful women and if it’s classy, which I’ve always tried to keep it tasteful, as much as you can be in a stripogram, ehm, then I see it as entertainment, I don’t see it as a way to get off on something, d’you know what I mean, I don’t see it as like a sex trade kind of thing which some people would probably see it as. E: Erm, why do you think it’s, hmm, would you go and see a man? M: Ehm I think women and men are totally different in respect to that type of entertainment. For me I would find a man dancin around really cheesy. Erm, it wouldn’t be, it’d be enter115

tainin for a funny kind of night out but more for a laugh than anything else because it wouldn’t get us goin, definitely not, so seein a man dancin is not my cup of tea, but I know some women like it, but it’s not my cup of tea. I’ve only seen one or two. It’s never really been my thing. E: Do you think it’s made you feel in any way, do you think it’s had any effect on how you feel about men or about sexuality? M: I definitely think the job has had an effect on us ehm, and especially the way I see men sometimes but if anything I think it’s actually helped a little bit because actually kind of I don’t see every man as the same and I know that there is good men out there, it hasn’t made us hate all men and think they’re all the same just because a lot of guys who I’ve worked with or danced for or what have you have been like a certain way. I know there’s hundreds of guys won’t go to places like that, won’t be seen dead in places like that and I know tons of guys that just see it as entertainment so I just, it’s never made me opinion too much for the worse, if anything it’s made us realise that not everybody’s like that so, so... yeah. I’m tryin to think if it’s changed any other thing about us. I think it’s gave me a confidence though the job, definitely. I think when I stopped for a while ehm I kind of missed it, so. E: Yeah I think I miss it in a way as well. I wouldn’t do it again but there’s something about it, yeah.

M: I think it’s wantin, I think it’s the feelin of acceptance as well when you get up on stage and things like that and you’re gettin cheered for, it makes you feel good a bit, but, and if I don’t have that anymore sometimes it feels a bit like I dunno, mebbes I become a bit more of an attention seeker with me boyfriend because I’m not gettin that attention anymore, I think it’s just nice to know that people want ye. E: Do you want to talk a bit about like how it would work with an agent and what you found with the different agents, what the kind of process was for getting work and pay, a little bit about how the structure of it? M: With an agent as far as I, far as I know, obviously haven’t worked for them, I’ve worked for a couple o’ different ones... I would say the structure of the way it works isn’t really that fair most of the time, ehm, the agents have favourite girls who they’ll give the best jobs to and they’ll only give some of the other girls jobs if the favourite girls aren’t available, so I think that’s a bit unfair sometimes, I think they should share it out a bit more evenly or mebbes not take as many girls on and, erm, to do with commission and things like that, it wasn’t really that much commission you used to pay but the jobs now for the agencies have gone down again so basically you only get like seeventy pound for a strip job but you would have to pay twenty, like fourteen to twenty pound out of that to the agent, so to be honest you’re not makin much at all. I mean comin out at the

end of it and payin a driver and you’ve only made thirty pound at the end of it isn’t enough really is it? So, cos a lot of the time the drivers that work for them, they charge ehm, they’ll charge like twenty to thirty pound dependin on where you’re goin. I went to a job a couple o’ years back through an agent and it was in a bar somewhere, I’m sure it was Rippon or somewhere like that, so went there and it wasn’t busy at all but we had to pay the driver thirty pound each, or twenty pound each or somethin, and we were paid thirty pound basic, and then were supposed to make lapdances on the top of that, it wasn’t even a lapdancin club, it was supposed to, but no men came in at all, and we were there til like one in the mornin so we didn’t make a penny, so by the time I come home I’d made ten pound and it’d taken up ma whole night. E: That’s horrendous. M: Really horrendous. A while ago as well ehm, well this is different, but I got called to work at a lapdancin club in South Shields and I turned in there and by the time I got home that night, cos it’d been so quiet, I’d actually paid twenty pound, when I worked it out, twenty pound for taxis and stuff, so I paid twenty pound to do a strip on stage. I’d actually paid to do a strip. I worked it out. I thought that’s the last time I’m doin that, it’s horrendous. E: That is really bad. So do you think, do you think that’s it’s changed in terms of the amount of work? 116

M: Yeah there’s not that much work around really to be honest, I think the fact is there probably is the work but there’s just so many girls, there’s hundreds o’ girls in the North East do it now, there’s so many. I mean the agencies ‘ve probably got I dunno like thirty each on their books or even more than that so, and then you’ve got all the lapdancers as well that work in the clubs and they all, they’re all startin to try and get more work because the clubs are takin a lot of money off them and they’re not makin as much, so they’re lookin for work elsewhere. So I’m with an agency now that’s ehm, it’s actually a national one so they, they have stripograms in every like city all over the country and I’ve had quite a lot of work off them, so, get more work off them than I used to get off other agencies I was with and it’s quite good money as well, so yeah, that’s good. And actually they’re really good because they take money off, their commission comes off the guy, so the guy’ll pay a thirty pound bookin fee and then your fee on top of that when he sees you, so you don’t have to give any money away. Your ninety pound or a hundred pounds will just be yours when you get there and it’s only fifteen minutes you’re there, so E: That’s really good. Makes me feel like I want to do it again. But I don’t. What was I gonna say? Do you feel like, what do you feel it’s had an effect of in terms of like career, maybe you want to talk about other things you do that aren’t just you know, things you want to talk about.

M: Ehm I think a lot of people who dance or strip or what have ye, quite a few people end up, they do it because they’re gonna fund something else they want to do, so it is best to either go back, go to college or get another job or somethin just so you can better yourself because you can’t dance forever, but I do see a lot of tragic girls where the ended up where they’re still dancin when they’re like really past it, and I can tell they don’t want to do it anymore but it’s the only thing they know and they haven’t studied anything else while they’ve been doin it so I think it’s really important if you do it as a job to follow somethin else that you really want to do, and so that’s why I started doin makeup, like when I was nineteen I started workin for Mac and since then I’ve been a makeup artist, so now, because of me dancin, I’ve been able to become a freelance makeup artist which is what I prefer to do rather than workin on a makeup counter, because it means that I’ve been able to sit out the couple of years when I’ve been quiet with the makeup when I’m still gettin known and things like that, I’ve been able to sit that out because I’ve got the dancin jobs in between to see us over, so eventually, in a couple of years time, I’ll just be doin the makeup and not the dancin anymore, so to have a bit of a crossover. E: That’s really good, I’ve seen your stuff, seen pictures of what you’ve done, it’s really good. M: Oh, thanks. E: Erm, I dunno, are there

any other things that you feel you want to, like anything you feel is important to mention or talk about or any particular like stories that stick in your mind? M: I’m tryin to think. I’ve got loads of stories but I can’t even think of any off the top of me head. Well at the minute some of the strip jobs that I’m gettin, I get really nervous goin to them cos I haven’t done stripogram for quite a while, I was doin lapdancin, so I get quite nervous at the minute when I’m called to them for this new agency because I don’t know what to expect when I get there, it’s always different, so I mean I’ve done a few jobs for them. The first one I got asked to dress as a policewoman and I hate tacky outfits, so I had to wear this policewoman’s outfit and I was hatin wearin it but I was really nervous, I turned up and it was a huge party for like an eighteen year old and it was almost like a rave when I turned up but they’d set it up really good so that when I got called in and two of the other lads who were his friends dressed up as policemen to the music so he thought they were doin a joke stripogram and then I walked in as a surprise, so that was quite fun, so that kinda stopped my nerves a bit, but then a few weeks ago I got called to a job in South Shields and when I turned up it was just to a house address, and I took a driver with me, I wasn’t gonna get a taxi there, so I was, I made him wait outside, and I said if I’m not back in ten minutes come and knock on the door, but the guy seemed fine, he came to the car, but they were quite ehm 117

chavvy, but he came to the car but I seen like a girl in the doorway and I thought eh like is there gonna be girls there as well, which is really dauntin, ehm if there’s women there, especially in a house, but she wasn’t, I went in the livin room and there were just a bunch of guys who’d been up and partyin all night, had kind of just decided to ring a stripper in and they were all sittin in their shorts, there was like drinks leftover from lastnight, and you could just tell that they’d been partyin all night, so I was just called to dance in someone’s livin room for fifteen minutes, I had to dance as well, so that was a bit of a nightmare. I was shakin when I first went in but it was fine once it was over. It was over in fifteen minutes. But yeah, I have got loads o’ stories for jobs, it’s just thinking of them, cos there’s so many. E: Erm, I’m trying to think other things, like what kind of, has it had any impact in terms of like friends or family or partners or anything like that? M: Ehm, the job has had an impact on relationships in the past erm, for oo, well, there was two people in particular who I had long term relationships with weren’t happy with the job so I did end up givin the job up, but then I realised before I met me new partner that if somebody couldn’t handle me past or what I’ve been doin or the fact that I still dance and that I’m an independent person and I’ve always looked after myself, I don’t ask anybody for anything, if they can’t deal with that then they shouldn’t really be with me in the first

place so I kind of started to think like that, but then again, now I’ve met my new partner I feel that like if he did ask us to stop I probably would because we’re really serious and me relationship with him is more important than the job, so I think for the right reasons I would probably give it up but me partner’s really fine with it so I don’t really need to. He knows I’m not gonna do it forever, so. E: That’s really good. M: He’s quite supportive as well, like if I’m goin for a job and stuff he just makes jokes and kind of eggs us on a bit, gives us supportive things to say, says supportive things to us, so, it’s quite good. E: Erm, what do you think in terms of the fact that, cos something that’s just sort of, I’ve started to realise is that when I was stripping I would be making like a lot of money and you know I mean you mentioned having to study and doing things to better yourself, do you think that erm, how do you feel about the fact that the most money a woman can make when she’s not educated is making yourself an object, basically like you know something that she sells, she sells in a sense like her image, because even when you’re stripping you’re selling like an image of yourself, it’s like an object? M: Yeah, it is really, it is the only industry that you can make good money when you are not educated or what have you, and a lot of it depends on how you were brought up, what kind of person you were,

what your family life is like, I think it does have an impact on what you end up doin, I mean if you’re, I was really independent and I lived away from home from a really young age, so I made me own choices. To be honest if my parents had’ve even tried to make a choice for us I would’ve went the opposite way, so I never used to listen to anyone, I always followed what I wanted to do, so, but it is quite annoyin that there didn’t seem to be that many other things to do really apart from workin a job for years until you got higher and higher up in your position in like a normal job, ehm, before you would be makin anywhere near what we were makin when I was dancin, so it was kind of the only option really to be honest, apart from obviously goin to college and things like that but I would have probably still danced anyway because I wouldn’t have been able to just live on the money that I was gettin then, or I would’ve, well I did do barkwork and things like that but it’s nothing near what you used to make as a dancer. E: Do you think it’s a hard industry to get out of? M: It’s very hard to get out of, ehm. Obviously through the years as well you build up a lot of contacts so people end up finding yer and getting in touch with yer and like, and they’ll offer you a job, like it might be just a one off job and you think, and they always kind of big it up as if you’re gonna earn a lot of money so you just end up gettin back into it as well, especially if you’re 118

single as well it’s really easy to get back into cos you just think well, I’ve only got maself to worry about, so why not make a bit extra money and fill in the nights as well? So it is really hard to get away from. Obviously the thing that worries me the most is lookin too old, obviously gettin too old and dancin still when I probably shouldn’t be, but it’s just knowin where that cut off point is. Obviously if you’re in good shape and things like that and you kinda look after yourself, then you can probably dance well into your thirties, but it’s just, I’d never want to be, I never wanna think that somebody might be saying ‘aww, she should be finished doin this now,’ d’you know what I mean? So I kinda want to be stopped doin this before that happens. E: Do you know any women who are older and what kind of ages? M: Yeah erm, well there’s a few dancers that have danced well into their forties, even fifties and I think it’s just because that’s all they know how to do and again they’ve never studied or done anything while they’ve danced. Ehm, but then I mean there was girls that I lapdanced with as well and there was one girl that ended up actually losin her job because the man, even though she’d worked there for years, because the manager just said ‘basically you’re too old now,’ and to be told that must’ve been really really upsettin because she’d actually been loyal and worked their for years and been one of their best dancers there. I mean she was lookin older, she

had a good physique and that but she was lookin older facially, but erm it mustn’t have been very nice for her that. I think she was in her forties though. No, late thirties or forty. Then obviously there’s stripograms that I know that have danced for years and years but them ones are kind of legends in some people’s eyes, like when they do dancers they’re really entertainin cos they’re amazin dancers and know what they’re doin but it’s just whether men want to look at an older woman or what have you, they normally get all of the social club work and things like that. The jobs get different as you get older as well because they won’t send you on certain jobs if you’re too old. They’ll probably just send you to social clubs and mebbes one off stripograms and things like that, so.... E: That’s brilliant, thankyou so much. That’s great. Can you think of anything else like off the top of your head that would be... M: Erm. E: Like if you think of this as being like a historical record of that kind of thing. M: Mmhmm, let me think. E: What did, like, did you see any difference between like girls from different from different parts of the North East, different places in the North East that worked? M: Ehm, difference in girls, well, even over in time there’s the huge difference in girls as I said before. There’s a lot more, like, the girls are a lot more like ehm, how can I say it, erm,

when I first started the girls were a lot more like rougher actually to be honest. A little bit more common and a bit like crazy and things, but I got on with all of them, we used to have so much fun, whereas now the girls, there’s so many girls just do it, like different people from different walks of life, like you couldn’t, like sometimes you’ll go to a job and there’s like three girls on, you couldn’t get three different girls if you tried, like so different girls, ehm, but as well from place to place yeah, the girls, I dunno, you’ve still got like a mixture of girls, I think they’re kinda the same from everywhere really, like when you see the stripograms from Middlesbrough and the stripograms from here, the stripograms from Sunderland I think the majority of them are kind of the same, it’s just a lot of lapdancers are startin to do the stripograms now, which has brought like a kind of different type of people into it, cos it was kinda just common people that did it really. Sounds bad to say really, but it was, so... E: Gonna stop there.

Frankie T4C11 E: And who do you think was the best dancer? Who do you reckon was the best dancer. F: Oh I don’t know, there was a canny few. There was Louise, there was Jordan, there was eh (inaudible), a canny few. E: Did you used to ever watch, did you used to ever see the old school dancers like Maria? F: Yeah, I’ve even been to a couple a these, whatyoucall it, berlin, eh, shows. Burlesque shows. E: Do you think Burlesque is like stripping? F: Aye, it’s just the same really. It’s fans and that to keep theysels covered up, it’s canny. E: What do you prefer? F: I don’t know. I mean I’m, I’ve got different views. E: I used to do Burlesque. After I stopped stripping I went to do Burlesque. F: Aye. T4C12 F: You’re livin in the gay place, Brighton. E: It is quite gay, yes. F: Me mate Annie lives there. (inaudible) E: It’s a really beautiful place.

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F: I say Annie lives there but I think she moved back up ‘ere. Not sure. She was on television n’all... T4C14 E: So I’ve worked all over the North East and y’know, for some girls it’s... F: In a way it’s about ? makin money isn’t it? E: Yeah. F: A lot of girls do it without payin tax, y’kna they ... without payin tax and different things like that, makin money. E: So why do you think it’s degrading? F: I’m just not used to women y’kna, takin their clothes off, cos I know we were all born naked but at the end of the day if they’re ganna all be takin their clothes off we should pay ‘em to walk around naked. And they start as well at sixteen. I worked for a soft drinks firm, and I used to deliver to a naturist place, (inaudible), you’d see them down the sides sittin readin newspapers at the winder, a girl gans down, so they’d watch, different things like that, watchin, a laugh. I said I’ll go back to packin (?) T4C21 E: So can you tell me any of your memories of South Shields? F: Well it’s the place I used to come to years ago when I was a bairn. It’s tap? trips and the club trips. Used toa ll come through here n I got talkin to one or two used 120

to come through ‘ere every other night to watch the dancers. E: So would you say this was kind of the hub of dancing in the North East. F: Wey in it’s heyday I think it was. Cos at the time there was like the Brunswick and all that, nowt really in Newcastle, and then the likes of For Your Eyes Only n’all them sprung up and there were tourists, and they said we’ll knock this place on the head, just all went down. And then Whitley Bay had them all, this place used to just go ?. E: So is the setup any different from teh clubs, social clubs? F: Nah, not really. E: Do you think that stripping and drinking have like a lot, do you think they go hand in hand? F: I think it does. I mean if they had strippers on and nay drinkin or owt like that I don’t think you’d get many people goin. They like to have a drink adn watch the dancers, different things like that. T4C22 E: Ooh, it’s rolling! Frank, it’s rolling! F: Aye.....want a pork sandwich? E: I’m vegetarian but I’ll definitely get a sandwich of some kind. So this is where, this here where Lidl is now, that’s where the Blue Ice was? F: Where the car park is

used to be the Blue Ice, in the bigtime days. E: And then this is The Brunny. F: Uh-huh, The Brunny. E: Can we go round the front, have a look? F: Yeah. Nee wonder you’ve got no meat on your bones, a vegetarian. One of my friends was a vegetarian, she’s missed now like. E: She’s what? F: She’s missed. She was only twenty three when she died. E: Aww. And this is it, this is The Brunny. F: Aye, it’s The Brunny. All closed up. Finished. Whether it re-opens again I do not kner. E: Do you think the girls liked working here? F: I think some a them did, aye. They all liked to work here cos they used to make more money here than they did at some a the other places. A lot of them went from here to Newcastle cos they worked, y’know, there. T4C23 E: Ferry Tavern take one (clap). Can you just, when we get around to that bit will you be able to point it out to me and say... F: It’s the end of the estate, just here is where the whatdoyoucallit (inaudible...), but it’s all gone, history under the bridge. E: What are they making it

into? F: Water under the bridge. E: What are they making it into? F: Wey it’s partly ferry land now, and that’s gonna be telecom. E: It’s gonna be ferry landing? F: Aye it’s part a the ferry landing now. They knocked it down and made way for a new ferry landing and all that. Good little pub n’all. Fuckin gits in it like but a canny pub. T4C24 E: Are you filming me Frank? F: Nor. Canny little camera this like....weird lookin through that one mind. E: Is it, howcome? F: Eh? It’s not a bad camera that like. E: Where’d you get it? F: It’s...the catalogue shop at Stanley. E: Definitely something I wanna investT5C1 - INTERVIEW E: Frank at home, take one (clap). K, so I thought it’d be quite nice if you’d be able to sort of tell me a bit about your parents and that, yeah, just a bit about yourself. F: Just a normal lad, born and bred in the village. Lived ‘ere fifty, fifty-four year. Me dad was well liked in the village, tallest miner in County 121

Durham. E: How tall was he? F: Wey, roughly six foot seven, but the papers had him down as seven foot. E: Just gonna grab the thing quickly.... actually, that should be OK. Just check if it’s in shot. Sorry, this is a pain in the bum. Switched on, should be better. Right sorry, you’re gonna have to start that bit again because I didn’t switch the mic on. So if you wanna start that bit again. F: Wey, just a local lad, lived in the village fifty...five year comin up. And me dad was the tallest miner in County Durham. I know everybody in the village. Just had a good time. E: How tall was your dad? F: About six foot seven. But the papers said he was seven foot. I think it was The Sun ‘e was in, I’m not sure which paper it was like, was that many year ago, but me dad’s dad, he was a miner and he’s father before him. The bureau behind us is me great great grandas, and he got that for so many year’s service in the pits. E: And you would’ve been too young to have ever worked. F: Eh? E: Mining. F: Oh me dad wouldn’t let us go in the pits, the pits were still open when I left school, he turned round said I wasn’t gonna go down the pits, he just didn’t want me to go down the pits for

some reason, which I appreciate, cos it’s a hard job. E: So what’ve you done? F: Worked at a pop firm for two year, I worked at a cable factory for twenty five year. I’ve been a cleaner, ended up cleaning buses, had an accident, hurt me back. That’s about it. I’ve worked here all me life til now. E: So how did you find yourself getting into driving dancers about? F: Well it was just out one night I was talkin to a couple of mates in Shields and they just asked us to give a lasses a coupla lift hyem and I said aye, and then just different times, now and again they’d phone us up askin if I’d drive them and that’s it. E: Did you enjoy it? F: Aye I enjoyed it, gets ye out of the house, gets ye about. E: Did you used to go see dancers anyway before you started driving? F: Er, nah. Not before I started driving. It was after I started driving I think. E: And so it kind of opened you up into that world a bit. F: Oh aye. E: And what were your impressions of it? F: Well it’s something to do in the spare time. It’s a laugh in a way. I don’t, whatyoucall, agree wir it. But in other words I can understand why they do it, to get money and that cos a

lot of them’s got bairns, different things like that, but in a way I disagree with it. E: Why do you disagree with it? F: I don’t know, I go and watch them. I enjoy goin watchin them. I even watch the odd DVDs and different things like that in the house, soft porn and different things like that but I disagree with them for some reason. E: Why do you think you disagree with it? F: I don’t know, probably just the way I’ve been brought up. Been brought up to respect people, different things like that. E: So do you think that dancers aren’t respected? F: Wey, I mean they’re no different to what we are, they’re just normal people tryin to make a living, but for some reason cos they do the dancin, they take the clothes off, they get put down. E: I’m just gonna turn it off for one second because... T5C3 E: Frank at home, take two (clap). So you were talking a bit about, y’know how you don’t think that it’s a respectable thing. F: Nah. But I can understand why they do it, cos it’s an easy way to make money to keep the bairns, different things like that. Easy way to make money but, got to be better things in life than doin that like, to me. 122

E: So you don’t think it’s an art form in the same way that(dog barks) F: In one way it is, in another way I don’t know. (bark) Hey! What’s a matter? Ye haven’t to bark man, you’re spoilin Liz’s film. Shut up! E: Just a sec, I’m just gonna focus for a sec cos I think I might’ve gone out of focus. OK. So what other kind of, what are your sort of strongest memories of stripping and strippers and that world? F: I don’t kna, just goin out, havin a good time, havin a laugh, talkin to the lasses and different things like that. E: And have you struck up any friendships from going out and meeting other guys or? F: Oh aye, I’ve getten to know a lot of people through it, I’ve getten to know a canny few of the dancers and that, made a few friends. E: So it’s been a positive thing. F: Oh aye, it’s getten us out a the house more, brought us out. I never used to go out the village but now I go all ower. E: Is that since your accident? F: Wey, no, not really, I used to get about before me accident. T5C4 E: Frank at home take three (clap), and, OK. So this is,

I’ve done it now so the picture’s better, so I know it’s a pain in the bum but would you mind talking again about what you were talking about? F: Aye, I get out, enjoy meself, got to know the lasses I were drivin, different things like that. Just get about, been to Middlesborough, Redcar, all over. Blackpool, one or two other places. I’ve never been to any of the lapdancin clubs in Newcastle. Been to a few of the pubs that have the dancers on but not the lapdancin clubs. For some reason I just don’t go in. E: Do you prefer the atmosphere of the pubs? F: In a way I do. E: Do you think there’s a difference between pub strippers and lapdancers? F: I mean, The Brunny, to me, was more like a pub, it didn’t seem like a lapdancin place to me, it was more like a pub, but you can get lapdancin there, and then the other places, it doesn’t seem the same. I mean I’ve been to that one at Consett, Red Velvet, and it’s just, I dunna, there’s just somink about it, I didn’t care much for it. E: Could you talk to me again about, you spoke to me briefly in the car about how you feel, when we were talking with Morris about the degrading thing, I think that’s interesting. And I know you’ve just spoken about it but the thing went off, so. F: Yep. I dunno, it’s just some, to me, it just seems

degradin, but in one way I can understand why they do it, but in another way it just doesn’t agree wir us. If you know what I mean. I don’t think women should be takin their clothes off for money, different things like that. But at the end of the day they’re makin money aren’t they, they’re keepin their families goin, different things like that, so... E: Do you think it’s a shame that women have to do it to keep their families going? F: I do. I think it is a shame. They shouldn’t have to do things like that. And it’s just gettin, you know once it was done nice and like, I dunna. Respectable, now it’s just gettin, more and more and more it’s just gettin more and more filthier I think, in a way. And it just seems to spoil it, when they get blokes up and start whippin them and different things like that. I know the blokes like it, but I just don’t seem to like it. When we go through to Whitley Bay half the time when the dancers come on I’ll get up and go for a walk, have a walk round the town or something like that, rather than watch the dancer. Especially when they’re doin a stag do or somink when they’ve got the blokes up and different things like that I just can’t watch it. E: What do they do? F: Wey, they generally strip the blokes off and different things like that, whip them and different things like that. I just canna get away with that. E: Do guys not complain? 123

F: Wey it’s the guys that pay for it isn’t it, they’re purrin it up for like a stag show y’kna, to get them up to humiliate them and different things like that, I just don’t agree wir it. I mean I used to like when you’d get two lasses comin on together I liked to watch them but when they get the blokes and that up I just canna get away with that for some reason.

really ‘ad any bother. I cannot see why they’re wantin to stop it cos it’s bringin people into Whitley Bay. But when it all packs in, I cannot see anybody goin to Whitley Bay cos there’s nowt there. There’s nothing, nothing there for kids. They’re tryin to make the place for kids, but to me there’s nothing there, there’s no shows, they did away with all the shows, there used E: What used to happen with to be lovely shows around. They’ve done away with two girls together? that and built a modernised school. Where you’ve got F: Well, they used to get the likes of South Shields up to all sorts. Used to and that at least you’ve got enjoy it but it’s all changed the showground, you’ve got man. I mean now they’re one or two, fair enough, you not allowed to dance with used to have the dancin but eachother or different things like that, they used to that was at the top end of take eachother’s clothes off the town out the way. It was and different things like that. canny. Now they’re not allowed to E: Did they used to have, is do owt like that. it called Spanish City? E: So do you feel like what F: Aye. they do now, the kind of stag parties, is kind of takE: When did that come ing it too far? down? Years ago? F: I think it is in some ways, F: It’s still up. They’re all they do take it too far. I modernising, doin it up, mean I know a lad, I’ve givSpanish City, cos the showen him a lift hyem a couple ground used to be the back of times, he goes to Whitof the Spanish City, they’re ley Bay and he loves to get on doin it all up. Done up all the lasses up and get the the road so the road comes lasses to whip him. And round the back er it, they’ve they whip him that hard got a big school there sometimes the blood’s runwhere the showground nin down ‘es legs and ‘es and all that used to be. It’s wantin more and more and just all changed. The only more. At the end of the day, decent thing they have in it’s nor entertainment that is it? Watchin somebody get the North East now is when they have the Tall Ships. the livin daylights whipped out of them. E: What’s the Tall Ships? E: It seems an unusual thing F: They’re old fashioned saito be happening in the cenlin ships, they have the race tre of a kind of beach town. on from like Norway to Newcastle or Newcastle, wey, F: Aye I kna. But it’s been last year it was Middlesgoin on for years. Never

brough, they all came into Middlesbrough, all these big different old fashioned sailin ships. Brilliant. E: I’ve heard of that. So do you think that, do you feel that the North East is lacking in terms of y’know, exciting things to do, things to get engaged with, cultural things. F: Oh aye. I love the North East for the like scenery, coast and everything, I mean you’ve got the likes of Alnwick Castle, Bamburgh, Holy Island, you’ve got a hell of a lot in the North East, and people’s more friendlier up ‘ere than they are down South. If I won the lottery tomorrow I wouldn’t move away from the North East. I mean me mate, he goes to Thailand, he loves it over there cos he says the go-go bars, there’s hundreds and hundreds but I’ve never had nee fancy to go to Thailand. Cos at the end of the day to me, the blokes just go to Thailand for the women and sex. That’s all they gan for. There’s more things to life than that. E: Thailand’s beautiful. F: I wouldn’t know I’ve never been. Never been abroad in me life. Furthest I’ve been I think’s just yon side of Blackpool, Fleetwood, and I’ve been to Trossach up, that’s about it. I love Scotland. I’d live up there nee bother. But at the moment I’m happy where I’m at. E: Scotland’s beautiful. Really beautiful place. F: Oh aye. It’s not a bad little village this. It’s canny. It does me. 124

E: Have you lived in this village all your life then? F: Aye. Born in this village. Born about six doors away, just up the road, the old colliery houses, them over on Wood Street. Born on, I think it was Easter Sundeh. E: How do you feel about you know the recent changes, in terms of the recession and everything. Have you found that that’s had an impact on you, has it had an impact on the dancing in the North East? F: Aye I think it has, cos everything’s goin up. Price of beer and that’s gone up. I mean me local cricket club you’re talkin two pound sixty for a pint, and since they put it up to two sixty there’s hardly anybody gettin there, cos the lads know they can go to Durham on an afternoon and get a pint for one pound seventy. Which would you rather do, pay two pound sixty a pint or pay one seventy? You can have a canny time in the afternoon in Durham, go there, two or three pints, and whatdoyoucallit, have a meal. I mean, me and me mate Franky, he lives up the road, we went to there whatyoucall the luminaire down in Durham where they lit the cathedral and all this and all different artwork, hey it was brilliant. Had a waterfall, had all sorts on. Different places round Durham had all these different thing goin on, it was brilliant. E: When was that? F: Ooh, about three month back. They had like a procession of children come runnin through the street carryin these different lan-

terns and all that, like fishes and different things like that, and they had all these Christian things lit up on the cathedral and all that, the cathedral everything lit up, the whole place, different bridges lit up, and hey it was lovely. All lit up bonnie lights, all the way along the river banks and different things like that. I mean when we were younger when I first started work every Saturday we used to gan to the pictures. We used to get in the pictures for nowt cos we used to get complimentary tickets, we was deliverin to them. They used to give you tickets to get in, we used to go to the pictures, see a couple of films and then go have a couple of pints and sit and drink, cos I used to drink Southern Comforts in between rounds, different things like that. Used to come hyem mortal, walk all the way from Durham home. E: How far’s that? F: About five mile. I’ve even walked from Newcastle home. E: How far is that? F: That’s fourteen mile. E: Drunk? F: Nur. I had been tellied, but I went out with the lads from work, oh it was ages ago we had a bus on, there was an argument and one lad started a fight, I got thumped cos I tried to break it up, and the lad that caused it wanted to take me to court for it, and I says nah. The lad that thumped us, he apologised and all that. I said ye kna I was just tryin to stop it. At the end of the day them all got on the

bus and I just walked hyem, I said I’m not gettin on the bus cos I says if I get on the bus it’ll probably kick off again, I’m not gettin more involved so I just walked up. I walked fourteen mile to get hyem. E: Have you ever seen anything happen at any pubs or any clubs that’ve had dancers on? F: Nur, you never really see any rough stuff. I mean most of the pubs now, if there’s summat, I mean me mate Joe, there was a bloke, he was shoutin abuse at me and he slapped me on the back of the head as I was goin out and he ended up thumpin me mate Joe in the face, that was when we were comin out, and what it was about I do not know. He was just shoutin abuse and different things like that, I think it was cos we were talkin to the dancers, and he couldn’t get nen, y’know what I mean? They didn’t want to know him cos he was drunk and ‘e ‘ad, I think he was just jealous cos we were talkin to the dancers and he wasn’t, he just started on us, shoutin abuse and different things like that, and he was wantin a fight. When it kicks off like that if I think it’s gonna be a fight I’ll just get out the way, I just get up and walk out, cos I’m not a violent person but I had to defend meself I would. I mean I don’t like to see women get hit or owt like that. It’s just my way. E: Why do you think, you were talking earlier about how a lot of girls who work in this work kind of have these volatile relationships? F: I don’t kna, there’s just 125

somethink about them, they seem to go for the rough types who knock them about and things like that, they seem to enjoy it, I divn’t kna why. But I’ve seen a lot of dancers’ve been dancin and they’re absolutely stunnin, and the next week we’ve seen them dancin and they’ve had one or two bruises here and there where the boyfriend’s clouted them or somethin like that. I mean, I’m not a one for tattoos, I don’t like to see, you kna, I mean I don’t mind women havin tattoos but, yeah, you get a lot of the dancers covered in tattoos and piercins and different things like that, just puts me off altogether. And yet they say tattoos are sexy. I mean I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo, but at the end of the day I promised me mam I wouldn’t, cos she didn’t want us to get one, and me uncle Joe always said he regretted gettin his on, he got one with In Loving Memory of Mam on, and he always regretted it, he said if he could get it removed he would, but it’s one of them things, I telt me mam I wouldn’t get one, I’ve never got one, never even thought about it now. Just something me mam wanted us to do. I got me ear pierced in Blackpool which, I don’t know why, but I did, but I sharp took it out, just couln’t get away wir it. I don’t think it’s right that, lads wearing ear-rings and different things like that. E: It’s nice that you didn’t get a tattoo cos your mum told you not to get one. F: Aye, she didn’t want us to get one. If I was to get a tattoo now I think she’d be dancin in her grave.

E: Is there anything else thatF: It’s about all I can think of. I don’t kna what else. E: Would you say that your experiences with dancers and that whole industry has enriched your life? F: Wey, it has brought us out me shell, I was quiet, I never used to go anywhere, I’ve getten to meet people, I’ve getten about. I’ve had me eyes opened, different things like that. Now I paid a hundred and sixteen pound for a pair of glasses, I went to watch the dancers, the dancers took me glasses off us, you kna while she’s doin a dance, put them on, and me glasses just somehow disappeared, never found them. So I had to get a new pair of glasses. I don’t know but I was tight cos I ended up walkin home that night, from Winterton which is about what, about sixteen mile. E: That’s a long way. F: Aye, I used to go through, if I didn’t have me car I used to go through sometimes on a pushbike, lock me bike up, watch the dancers and then come back. E: Actually can you talk a bit on film about when you first saw dancers, when it was at the clubs round here, could you describe it a bit? F: It was a big hall where the dancers used to come on the stage and the lads and that used to be all sittin playin cards and playin bingo, things like that and the dancers used to come on in between. Just a laugh.

They still found a way of getAnd then sometimes they tin them sold. Dancin girls to used to have what they call me, if dancers does pack in, a stag show where they used to put a couple a strip- people’ll be hiring them havin them in private shows in pers on and er a comedian. Cos there’s one comedian, I their house, different things forget his name now, but he like that. used to come on the stage E: Do you think it’ll never be stark bollock naked. Absostopped? lutely stark bollock naked. And he used to get dressed F: I don’t think they’ll ever on the stage and do ‘es act. get, they’ll never really stop It was a laugh that like. And it. I mean they might get it other comedians used to stopped in the pubs and come round, they used to be dressed as like Kershaw, clubs and different things like that but it’ll go undersellin the shrimps and difground, to me. You’ll always ferent things like that, takin find somewhere’ll put on a the mickey out of people and different things like that, sleazy show, something like thar on. Do you not think it was good, we used to that? It’s just one a them have some good times. things. It’s like life, it still E: And how old were you the goes on, and you better get on wir it. first time you ever went to see a dancer in the clubs? E: Thankyou. F: Well I’d’ve been eighteen. F: Aye, you’re alright. E: And who took you with T5C5 them? F: Er, I was on a club trip and I just went in on me own, just ‘eard the music and decided to have a look in, have a pint. But I didn’t start like drivin til I was thirty year old. E: So why do you think that, why do you think it’s dying out? F: I don’t know, it’s just one of them things, it’s like everythink. The world’s changin, everything’s gotta change hasn’t it? I mean who’s to say in two to three years time it might not pick up? It might, might kick off, with all dancin all over the place or it might just pack up altogether. I mean years ago, porn shops, mucky books and different things like that was all banned, all X-rated. 126 F: Er, that’s, I think that’s Lexy. She used to dance wir a lass called Summer, and they were lovers and all sorts, went away on holiday and all that. Big fallout, now she’s married and got a couple a bairns. And she was well into women, that one. T5C7 F: You’ve got your shower and toilet there, you’ve got your wardrobe here, with a little gas fire, cooker, sink, then you’ve got your double bed there and you’ve got another double bed above the driver’s cab. Sleeps four people altogether. It’s ideal. E: So what did you say, you’re gonna start a mobile lapdancing club?

F: Oh aye. I might do it. T5C8 F: Close down. E: You don’t think they’d be happy? F: I don’t think they would.

Jeremy, Frankie & I E: She’s not the most reliable person. Something I’ve found actually with dancers, that they’re not the most reliable people. Can I pop that down there? Switched on. If you can talk into it. J: Oh right. E: Just sort of speak at your normal level so I can tell whether it’s recording. J: Yeah, yeah. How’s that coming through now? E: That’s great. J: Yeah, alright. E: So yeah, I mean I’m really interested to, like how long, do you go to these places often, how long have you been going? What I’m doing for this project is just getting people’s impressions of dancing. J: Yeah, yeah. Well I suppose three or four years I’ve been going, just accidentally introduced, erm, went in just for a drink and then I came back again and erm, well I’ve met all sorts of people as a result of doing that and, er, E: And um, what do you (cough), what do you think of…what kind of a service do you think it gives y’know, when a girl dances. What does it bring to the place in terms of entertainment? J: I think it, well I think it cheers people up. When you go out you feel a lot lot happier. You might go in feeling very very depressed and so on and it cheers you up, it gives you a lift. You might think that many people don’t 127

take much notice, but I think they do, I think they’re there because they feel better afterwards somehow, but perhaps it might make you feel younger perhaps. That is the effect it has. E: So you think it’s like, so for you it’s been an entirely positive experience? J: Yeah, and you meet people too. Not only the customers, the girls will talk to you and so on, and most are quite friendly, and so it’s been quite a positive er, especially if you come new to an area, but erm, when I came here, it came as a bit of a shock at first because I had no idea it went on. Just went in for a drink and it was taking place and it come as a shock, but you get used to it and there’s no shock afterwards. I’ve never, I don’t think I’ve seen any trouble at all. I’ve seen a scrap between two men who’ve got rolling drunk but that had nothing to do with it at all, I don’t think the entertainment ever causes any difficulty, I don’t think I’ve ever, no, never seen anything like that. E: So, is it, you moved here from Sussex? Is that right? Oh, no, that won’t be in the thing. J: Yes. E: So, you moved, you hadn’t come to it, so you, OK, my voice isn’t gonna be in it anyway so don’t worry, I won’t identify. So you moved, so you hadn’t seen this kind of thing in any other part of the UK? J: No, no. Except years and years ago, well I say years ago it was about early 70s,

a spy, allegedly using it for spying purposes. Did you know that, did you? She F: I think it did, the workin was a dancer in the clubs men’s clubs on like a Sunday mornin puttin like danc- in Paris in the 1914-18 war, and the war started going ers on. very badly for the French, and they were looking for J: Yes. You don’t think it came over from the theatres a scapegoat, and she was seen talking to officers when the theatres gave up? between her dances and so on, so they brought a F: Aye, like the burlesque? charge at her that she was J: Well, it was more than that. passing on secrets and she was shot, though most people think she was innocent. E: So the theatres would Mata Hari, that’s the name have a woman on as a kind she danced under, shot at of live tableau? dawn. Terrible. E: Do you think it is unique to the North East in the way J: Or several. Six or seven E: That’s horrible. girls sometimes. You might that it is now? have a tableau, like historiJ: Then of course, going cal tableaus, like Henry the J: I don’t think it’s unique right back, don’t know if Eighth and his six wives. any longer, I think it’s spread from here, I think the You’d have Henry the Eighth the history of it interests you, but going right back sitting there in the middle North East was the first. I to Roman times, Theodo recall reading something and six girls around him. dora, in the colosseum, in about it in a different part of Constantinople in Roman the country. I think it spread E: And they’d all be naked? times used to dance durfrom here, I think it did, but ing the chariot races while J: Yeah. Well, not naked, I think they were changing horsthey’d wear g-strings usually. It was very artistic actu- es to entertain the... and F: The lapdancin clubs she in fact became a saint, opened up in Newcastle and ally, and very popular too. she became a christian in then they started off in Edinthe early christian church E: I suppose it did come burgh and different places and was canonised, she’s from burlesque originallike that. Saint Theodora, and she ly. You know burlesque was carried on and she marconsidered to be quite an J: Yes. I think it’s spread all ried the Emperor, Justinian, over the country, even down amazing art form because, and she still went on with in a time where women had to the West Country. I do no political say, it was a way her dancing although she know somebody down the was a leader of the christhat women as performWest Country and it’s down tian church, so the christian ers, because it was often a there, Exeter area. church in those days was kind of a parody, that would much more liberal than they involve them taking their E: So you think that, are today. clothes off but they were because I’ve spoken to a making some kind of politifew women who worked E: Again there’s that link cal point, and it was conhere in the sort of 70s and between dancing and spiritsidered to be the only way 80s for a woman called uality, I think when you look, that women could express Anne Robinson, and she actually who was it, there was the first stripping agent themselves. were women in Ancient in the North East, and she Greece who were high J: Oh yes, yes. It’s been came over from Ireland and class, they were dancers she brought her agency with going on for years, I mean and entertainers and they particularly in France for her, and it was particularly were the only women who instance. Mata Hari for in working men’s clubs, so were allowed to sit on the do you think it began in that instance, who was shot as you used to get it on stage in theatres, every town had a theatre, but in those days the artists weren’t allowed to move. Like statues, the curtains were drawn, there’d be some sort of tableau, erm, and then it would come again then part again there’d be a different tableau. There was a rule, it was controlled by I think the Lord Chamberlain in those days, but that’s the only thing I’d ever seen like that before. Never seen anything live or moving and. position? 128

board of, y’know, they were allowed to have a say politically and that’s what they did, they were intelligent educated women, could be bought as kind of, they were like you know, they were allowed to have a say politically and they were the only women who were. J: Yeah. E: I love this dog. J: I’ve always wanted a St. Bernard dog. E: So lovely, big rolling things. F: I think a St. Bernard be a bit big for you Maurice, it’d pull ye down. J: Yes. E: So you think it brings a positivity to the area? J: I’m absolutely convinced of this, yes. But it’s just spoiled because one or two people have this attitude and I can’t understand the attitude. Nobody has ever told me what is wrong with it. What is wrong with it? I’ve never seen any harm. It comes I think from St. Augustine of Hippo. F: Aye, I’ve got nothing against lasses dancin in the bars and different things like that, but I divn’t like it when they get the blokes up and start whippin them and different things like that. J: Ah, there’s a nerve, that is a different thing, yes. F: I think that’s why they’re gettin it all stopped. J: You think so? 129

F: I think it’s somink to do with that. J: I think a lot of these people who object don’t, knew nothing about that. E: Yeah, cos I’ve heard of some awful things going on with what they do and that kind of thing. F: I was in, oh, I think it was Echo. Was it Echo? I think it mighta been. Aye, I think it was Echo. I think it was Kelly, and another lass called Scarlet, J: Be careful of names, be careful of these names. E: I’ll bleep them out. F: But the dancers were up and they got this lad up, and he was there in the mornin, he paid them to get ‘im up they whipped um, and the blood was literally runnin down ‘es legs and things like that, and at the end o’ the day they had to stop it, but he was shoutin for more. He was wantin more and more and more but the stopped it, but I think they went a bit too far then. J: I don’t like that at all, no. F: Wey, I don’t think she dances now, that Scarlet. E: Cos erm, I was talking to Frank and Frank was saying he thinks that, he was asking me if I felt embarassed doing it and he feels that it can be degrading. F: I dee, I think it’s a bit degradin for women. J: Do you? F: D’you not think it is?

J: No, I don’t. F: I mean I’ve got nothing against it or owt like that like, but I d’nah. J: Well only that there are these people who are opposing, and it might seem like that from their point of view, and therefore. F: Ye’ve got to look at it from both angles like haven’t ya? You’ve got to look at it from our side, which is entertainment and that, it’s enjoyable, but ye’ve got to look at it from the dancer’s side n’all haven’t ye? J: Well they need protected from all the F: Oh aye. J: I don’t think it’s degrading in any way. I don’t think I would go if I thought it was degrading. E: Maybe the things that are degrading about it are circumstancial, because I’ve spoken to people who y’know, there’s something for me that was degrading about going out into a space that didn’t have a properly washed floor. J: Yes. E: And so you were being expected to perform on a stage that was filthy. That was degrading to me. I think perhaps what’s degrading about it is not the kind of thing of taking off your clothes but the kind of reverence that’s given to that and the respect that’s given to that act. J: Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes. I agree. I also would think some of the DJs upset me.

Some of the comments, the coarse comments. There’s nothing from the viewer’s point of view but DJs do say some nasty things from time to time and it spoils, I mean it’s an artistic act from my point of view and you don’t want, it would spoil any, I mean some good music if it was announced using four letter words and things like that it would, well it would ruin it. E: I think that perhaps there’s a bit of a culture that’s kind of come with it that kind of, that is, I remember when I was really young I used to dread, completely dread working at a place at the bottom called The Deep, because you’d go out and the guy would inevitably have something to say about me that was really degrading and you’d just have to go, I’m making a hundred and twenty quid this afternoon and I don’t care, I’m gonna grow a thick skin to his comments because he’d inevitably be like “you need your roots done darlin,” something like that, or call you like a slag or a slut. J: Yes, yes. F: Wey that happened regular in eh Wallsend East End Club, they used to call the dancers all sorts. Some of them used to chuck beer mats onto stage. E: What’s the Wallsend East End Club? F: At the end of the act when the dancer was finished he used to shout “the man from Del Monte he says F OFF!” and different things like that. 130

E: What was the Wallsend East End Club? F: Eh? It was just a workin men’s club. And they used to have dancers on on a Sundeh. He used to swear and all sorts at the dancers, but at the end o’ the day when they stopped ‘um, they complained about it. J: Why do you need these DJs? I don’t... I mean anybody could just say “the next dancer is....let’s have a big hand!” You don’t need all these coarse, nasty comments. F: The DJ really, the real DJ’s just there really for the music, they just sort the music and that. J: Well they can sort the music but they needn’t say these... I did on one occasion, the DJ said something and I went over and said “I do wish you wouldn’t use that sort of expression referring to the girls.” It’s not nice, I don’t like it at all. He didn’t take very kindly to it. E: I think that maybe the setup has changed quite a bit. You are ruining your thing, look at you, look at you, you need a little bone or something don’t you? Such a cutie. God, she’s gorgeous. F: She’s got plenty o’ chews. J: If you go to a place, I’ve not been to Paris but I mean you go to a place like the Paris Berger it’s all done nicely, it’s all artistic and that and you get I’m told, I know a chap who went there, you get priests going there and no problem at all, it’s all done nicely.

E: I worked in a place in Brighton and, I mean OK there were aspects of the club, they’d take a lot of money off you, they’d fine you at every opportunity but they really treated you well, really made a real effort to kind of, you would be you know, all the staff were respectful and kind and you’d go on stage and they’d go “this is the beautiful Tallulah”, which is what I called myself in Brighton cos there was already a Lexy and it’d be very, you know, it was much more, you know, it wasn’t, I have to say that the times I’ve felt degraded were definitely when I was working in more kind of pubs, places like that where there aren’t such strong regulations. J: Yes. Well I’ll take back what I said about it not being degrading, it is degrading. F: I mean look at the way they’d go on when you used to get up and dance in eh what d’you call it, Echo, they used to slag the dancers off and different things like that, mak rude noises when they were dancin. J: Yes, I take back what I said about it being degrading, it is degrading when you get that sort of thing going on. But not what the girls are doing isn’t degrading, it’s people degrading them. If we could stop that. E: So perhaps it’s got something to do with the people who are sort of responsible for running the industry rather than the girls themselves and the punters. J: Yes. Yes.

E: The regulations need to come in more so on the side of the people who run these places. J: Yes. I mean, they’d, in there it says that they were observing people being hit and things like that. I’ve seen them walking over somebody, putting somebody flat on the ground and walking in high heeled shoes over them. It’s dangerous perhaps they’re thinking, and that, see the girls shouldn’t do that, it’s both ways. If we could get it artistic, the girls doing things which are artistic rather than crude like that. E: I mean I think the chances of stopping it are impossible and like you said it’s been going. F: Cos if they stop it in every club it’ll just go underground. People forgetten. J: But it didn’t used to be, they didn’t used to have all this crudeness in it. E: Did you ever go to any of the working men’s clubs and stuff way back? F: Oh aye. I mean when I first come eighteen I used to go to the workin men’s club and they used to have the dancers on on a Sundeh mornin. Footballers, like footballers used to come up and play football and they used to ha the dancers on for the footballers comin back in. And most o’ the blokes used to be sittin playin cards. Sittin playin cards or playin dominoes, not watchin the dancers. J: Yeah but that’s rude isn’t it really? 131

F: Cos there was one dancers used to call hersel Singe Minge, she used to come out and she used to do fireeatin’ and that, different things like that. E: She used to call herself what? F: Singe Minge. That’s, that was her stage name. E: Do you remember any other girls from back then? F: Oh, wey, I remember a canny few but I cannot remember the names o’ them. E: Do you think the style of dancing has changed since when it first started in the working men’s clubs? F: I think it has. J: Lapdancing was something quite new which I had never heard of. In fact a lot of people don’t know what lapdancing is. F: I think that’s what’s, it’s the lapdancers I think that’s gettin it the way it is today. M; Yes. F: I think that’s why, y’know, they don’t like the idea of a man sittin in a chair and a lass climbin all over ‘im, naked. They don’t like the idea of that. Do you? J: It’s either they don’t like the idea or they don’t like that advantage is being taken, because you can get people trying to persuade you to have a lapdance can’t you? And putting great pressure on you. E: I think lapdancing, for me, this is why this docu-

mentary I’m making about stripping, like clubs, working men’s clubs, you know venues which have girls coming on to entertain because I think that there’s a lot of documentaries about lapdancing and I think it’s a completely different thing, I think lapdancing is all down to psychological manipulation, it’s all down to psychological manipulation, I have seen women. There was one woman I used to work with in Brighton and she had a tactic, she told one of the barstaff she would make thousands of pounds a night and her tactic she said, I read up a lot about psychological manipulation and she said “I’d break people down and make them feel like they’re worthless and then I build them back up and it makes them feel as though I’m the person who makes them feel good about themselves again.” But stripping’s an act. J: Yeah, in some cases, yes. If you’re not recording names or anything, I’ve only got, I must be careful not to identify. I’ve only got one relative yet, everyone else has disappeared. All those have disappeared. But there was just, I was, I discovered that I had one relative left, and she came up here to see me and it was a weekend, and she said we’ll do today what you do, and I said oh you wouldn’t want to, and she says, yes, let’s, and we go for a drink, right, we’ll go. So I was a bit worried about this but I did take her into the place and it was no problem at all. The girls concerned knew me, they came up “oh, this is your relative,” introduced her, and came over and talked, and when we got back she says “oh

I’m very pleased you’ve got friends there, it’s very nice!” Didn’t worry at all. But there was no, none of this coarseness going on. E: It’s interesting to think actually that it is, there is a very different perspective between people who are punters like yourself who’d go in and who sees the acts and you know who kind of has, would have probably a very different view from the person who runs the pub and from the girl themselves. I mean I’ve spoken, it’s fascinating to hear the different opinions of girls. Some girls I’ve spoken to have been like “it’s horrendous”, some girls have been like “I’ve had the best life ever!” F: I mean, when I used to go to Whispers the dancers used to come up and say “are you comin for a lapdance?”, I’d say “mebbes a bit later,” “Wey, if ye ger us a drink cos the more drink I get, the better the lapdance ye’ll get,” so you end up havin to buy them drink and ye, ye gan have a lapdance and you come back, “are you gonna have another lapdance, are you gonna have another lapdance?” and just keep goin backwards and forwards all the time. J: Yes. Yes. E: What do you think that says about...I mean, do you feel from your experience of dancers that most of them are educated? J: Yes. At university I came across several girls who were dancers, and they were very nice girls too, just paying their way through university by doing it. 132

E: What about up here? J: This is, I am talking about up here. E: Right. J: It depends where up here means. E: In the North. F: One o’ the dancers I used toJ: I was at university up here, recentlyF: Maurice knows ‘er cos she’s studyin law now. And she used to dance a lot and them some say she’s on the game and all that, and she was seen on the news wi this bloke, he got done for, he stole some manuscript sorta thing and he solt it on, from some famous book or somethink, and she was ridin through the streets of Durham in a bloody horse driven carriage wir ‘um. E: I think I met a lot of girls who were, y’know, F: Claire. E: I met a lot of girls who kind of, who would, like me at uni or had other jobs but I met quite a lot of girls who I think felt like, like I’ve had another thing happen where I interview people which is that a lot of people have said that it got to a point where they couldn’t do anything else. J: Yes. Yes. I mean I have known ones going on into their fifties, you know, people at the end of theirF: Oh aye.

J: Yes, they can’t, can’t do any other work. E: So women still in their fifties stripping? J: Yeah, yeah. F: Oh aye. Wey ye’ve gorra just look at, you know Jackie, she’s still dancin and she’s got to be at least, I’m fifty five and she’s gotta be the same age as me cos she was on the go when I first started at clubs. And she started 16 in The Brunny. E: What was The Brunny like when it first opened? F: Eh it wasn’t bad. Used to be just like topless dancin and ye used to have the odd stripper on in the cage, but the cage n’all that’s done away with now. Wey it’s shut now. E: Do you remember Frank how it kind of spread from when you said you were eighteen when you first started going to clubs? Do you remember like how it, did it, at first was it just in clubs and did it spread to pubs or? F: Wey I think it’s always been in the clubs cos we used to come down to Shells every year when the called the club Trip, and there was pub used to always, The Ferry and that used to always have the dancers on in the afternoon, and eh, J: I think it started in the pubs. I can recall a programme, chap entering it was called Marty Modelin, he used to do a regular programme every Wednesday lunch time, and he went

to a pub in the East End of London and there was a girl stripping there and he gave a commentary on it. And that would be in the nineteen, early nineteen-sixties. That was the first I heard of it apart from the theatre. But I think there’s obviously two types of people who go and this DJ when I used this rather naughty word which I said, he said ah well of course you must remember you’re different to everybody else here, you see things different, you see this as artistic, and I think that is the case, I don’t, some people do see it from a...yeah. E: You think it’s a form of art? F: In a way it is. J: Yeah. I think it’s useful, I mean, I feel better, I feel better when I go out. There’s a sort of spring in the step afterwards. I don’t know why. Don’t know if Frank is affected in that way? F: I don’t know. J: But I come away horrified when there’s a lot of bad language and coarse expressions, that does upset me. F: Aye. E: Is there anything else you wanna say? J: Only that I hope it won’t disappear completely, I’m approved of it being pruned of all this coarseness and vulgarity but if it could be done properly as it was with the Lord Chamberlain. I think the problem is they’ve put all these things in the charge of local councillors. 133

They grant licenses now. It used to be the magistrates granted licenses, and the Lord Chamberlain controlled what was shown. I hope it won’t go but I would like to see all this roughness gone. But it is disappearing now in view of what’s been happening, it is altered. You don’t get all that people being hit with whips and that sort of thing. F: Nah. J: But it will be a pity I think if it goes cos it’s going back to puritanical times, going back to Victorian times when you couldn’t do anything in those days, it was stupid really in Victorian times, and it’ll be a pity if we go back to all that and, mm. I think it’s very interesting what you’re doing. F: The used to use shavin foam didn’t they, different things like that, ye used to get smothered in didn’t ye? J: Yeah, yes I’ve seen that, yes. Yes, that’s notF: And then they start with the whips and different things like that, that puts you off. J: Yes. E: What was it like, you know, back when you said you used to see people like Jackie when they first started. What was their act like? F: Well the act was canny, but you kna them days they weren’t allowed off the stage, different things like that, they’d dance on the stage and you used to be sittin, you could sit right up the stage and the dancers weren’t allowed to come

off the stage, and then it all seemed to change when they started to come off the stage and different things like that, to me. E: Do you think that they had more of an act? F: Aye. I think they did. J: You do get two different sort of girls. Some do an artistic act and others are just fooling around and grabbing people and er, F: Wey what’you call it used to grab people, she used to smother you in shavin foam and all sorts, Chantelle. J: Ah yes, Chantelle. F: She was a bit rough. J: Oh yes, I think I remember, yes. E: I remember that. F: I remember the first time she danced, Chantelle. In, er, it used to be, it’s now Barbados, it was Origins at the time, you know, neebody liked her. Nobody liked her and then all of a sudden she just changed. E: What did she used to do? F: She just ah, I dunna, she just changed. J: Perhaps it would be better if there was a charge to go in. So that you went in for an artistic performance rather than just drinking and fooling F: It’s like these lapdancin clubs, you’ve got to pay to ger in them, which I think’s a bit mean like, cos you pay for yer lapdance and you pay for your drinks and that,

I don’t think you should have to pay to ger in them. J: Is it nicely done in these, there’s some where, one or two big ones isn’t there where you come from? Is it nicely done in there? Nothing, yes? F: I mean The Brunny was canny cos you had the private, you know it was all closed in, private, where other lapdancin clubs you just go into a big room and you sit and they’re all gettin a lapdance in the same room, and that way you see more than what you should be because you’re watchin other people and different things like that. E: I think there are different, I mean I’ve worked in a lot of places, I think it’s all down to the girls. F: Aye. E: I think unfortunately a lot of girls feel like they have to do, like they have to bend the rules in order to make money. I mean I heard from when I’ve interviewed people who’ve done it for years is what would happen is the girls, back, way back in the 80s, you know when stripping started it was kind of you know, very much, you’d sort of take your pants off at the end and legs completely, it was just a very quick flash and then off, and then women started competing as they realised that more you know, if they revealed more then they would get more money. F: Aye. E: And I think that in a sense is a shame that they felt like they had to do more in 134

order to make more money cos that’s kind of, I think, for a lot of women that it all comes down to doing whatever they can do. J: The students who I’ve been with they’ve been very nice, they were doing it for money to pay for their, they weren’t doing it like that to make a living out of it. E: Not sure if it’s a particularly good career to go for really. J: No, no, it was just a temporary thing, but they were alright, I mean they were quite nice girls. But I’d hate to go back to Victorian times. F: You gettin restless? E: Do you mind if I use your bathroom? J: Yep. You know where it is? Up the stairs, top, first on the left. F: Come here Jess! Jess, come here! J: Jess the name? Jessica? F: Yes. Come on, hey. .... J: Oh I didn’t know you had a dog, have you always had a dog? F: No, I just got her last week. J: Oh right. F: The other Tuesdeh. J: Is it a bit of a tie, you can’t go out because of her? F: Nah, she’s not so bad in the house.

J: You bring her with you mostly do you? F: Aye, the only reason I brought her wir us, cos she’s still just a pup. I’ve been leavin her in the house for a couple of hours, give her time to get used to bein on her own, but lastnight I left ‘er with me sister, me sister says oh, when you’re comin back late leave her here, so I left her with me sister til I picked her up. J: Is she a beagle? F: No, she’s a Jack Russell. J: Oh yeah, Jack Russell, yes, yes! E: Frank, do you mind if I ask a few questions about driving? Driving the girls? F: Nah. E: Cos you’ll have had quite a, I think you’ll have had a unique experience of all this cos you’ve had a sort of inside perspective. F: Oh aye, I mean I drove a few girls. Some girls used to say “aw wey I haven’t made much, can I gir it ye next time?” and different things like that, y’kna what I mean, and other girls used to get money up straight away. E: And I mean, how far is, something to remember when I’m speaking is I’m also gonna cut my voice, so if I ask you a question, how far would you drive, it’s best to say “we had to drive this far”, you know so that I can kind ofF: I mean when I first started I was doin just the odd local one. I had done a long

one, I went down, drove as far as Ripon. That was when the Angels and all that first started at Stockton. The lass, took ‘er through there for a photoshoot and she says “I’ve got some girls workin at Ripon, can you take them down to Ripon?” And I took them down there to do a job in this pub, and comin back, and that’s about the furthest I’ve drove, down to Ripon with them. E: What kind of, erm, what did you make of all the girls? F: Ah they were very friendly, canny. I mean, you ger a lot ‘o questions off the blokes when you go in with a lass, carry their bags and thar in, all the lads think oh, you must be knockin them off and different things like that because you’re drivin for them ye’ll get favours and all this and that, but that’s summat I never even thought of. E: I think people must have a funny conception of what, you know, impression of what, yeah, of what that entails, because I always felt that drivers were, it was just good to have someone there. And what did you feel your role was once you’d got out of the car and into the pub? F: Ah, just another punter to me, but y’kna, a lot of dancers like the driver to go down wir em cos it’s a bit protection for them, y’kna like a bouncer sort of thing for them. E: And what were your impressions of all the different places you went to, what were they like? 135

F: Oh, some of them were rough as owt. Others was champion. E: What were the worst and the best, do you have any memories of them? F: Aw wey, the worst one I think, I used to like it n’all, it was The Ferry. It was rough as can be, there used to be sawdust scattered on the floor, different things like that, it was just an old pub, and it was rough as can be. They had the stage and they had the pole and they had like a walkway comes down the middle and different things like that and ye used to just crowd in, the toilets was droppin to bits, but it used to get chockablock. E: The girls used to dance on all the sawdust and stuff? F: Naw, naw, they used to dance on the stage and like a walkway thing. J: Has it spread down South? E: Not in this way which is why I’m doing this project. J: I was thinking would it be different down there. E: Mostly it’s lapdancing. F: I mean, you go to most places, clubs and that, the likes o’ the clubs they have a changin room for the dancers to get changed in, different things like that, where most pubs you gan te, they just get changed in the toilets. I divn’t like the idea of the dancers goin into the toilets, gettin changed in there, leavin all their stuff cos anybody can gan into toilets and take their stuff,

different things like that, which I think is all wrong. You should have a different place set apart for them to get changed in. J: Would you say you have a different view of the girls to me, cos you see them from a different? F: Well I try to look at it from their side, and from like our side you know what I mean? Try to look at it from both sides Maurice, in one way. J: Yeah. I mean I only see it from one side mostly I would think. F: Mmm. E: So you see it both from the perspective of somebody, like a consumer I suppose who enjoys it, but also the perpsective of somebody who’s selling that image? F: I mean I, in my own way I disagree with it, but I can understand the lasses doin it to make money and different things like that.. J: Do you think age comes in to it at all? E: Age for the dancers? J: No, well, the affect it has. E: Punters you mean? J: Well, old people are not supposed to enjoy it are they? And I have had people say unfortunate things to me. I mean I’ve been called a pervertF: Aye, I’ve been called that. J: Which is not the right name at all. It’s not a perversion. But they wouldn’t call a

young man that. F: Call you a dirty old man. J: So what has age got to do with it, why does that make a difference? E: I don’t know, I have found that, to me, especially when I, I’m talking about lapdancing clubs particularly because then you have a much more one on one contact with people. F: Aye. E: I felt safer with older people, I felt that older men were more respectful towards me, honestly, I remember working in lapdancing clubs and I would never ever approach groups of young men, I would only ever approach older people. J: Yes, yes. F: Mmhmm. J: Yes, I thought that might be the case. E: Do you think that, so do you think the response, I’m interested in the fact that you’ve seen it from such a long time ago. F: I mean, a lot of the dancers like you say, cos I’ve getten them up for a lapdance, when they’ve been finished, y’kna, I’ll pick their things up for them and different things like that, and they can’t understand why I’d de it cos others don’t, y’kna. E: So maybe you see it as more of a personal exchange than other people? F: Mmhmm. You get a lot 136

bly quite different up here. of dancers, they’ll tell ye, I mean most of the girls you get lads gettin them up who work up here are from for lapdances and they’re around here as well, whereexpectin a lot more than what they should get y’know, as I think when you work in the South you find that a cos a lot o’ them don’t like lot of women who work are the idea they’re not allowed to touch and different things foreign. like that, but a lot, I’ll admit J: Are they foreigners? a lot of dancers do let you touch, different things like F: I mean, that, yeah, that, I that. went to Edinburgh, I went to Edinburgh with Joe for a E: But back in the days day and we went to the lapwhen it was just a stage dancing clubs in Edinburgh, show you wouldn’t be allowed to touch in any way. and we found most of the girls was from like round this area, workin up there, F: Oh no, well you weren’t and it’s the same when you allowed on the stage, wouldn’t allow you to get up go to Blackpool, most of the lasses, they’re all from on the stage. round here. That must cost them a fortune to travel E: So why do you think it’s up there to work and then sort of, do you think it’s come back, must cost them got anything to do with like a fortune, cos you’re talkin technology or why do you like, from here to say Blackthink it’s changed so much pool you’re talking mebin terms of what the guys expect, cos I think it’s differ- bes sixty quid for just diesel, mebbes a bit more. ent, the age thing is different, I’ve noticed that youngJ: Yeah. Do the girls like er guys might have, might dancing do you think? feel that they have more of a right, because I used to have a lot more trouble with F: I think some o’ them do. roving hands with younger E: Why do you think it’s girls guys. from here? F: Aye. F: I don’t know. I think some o’ them, some o’ them think J: I’ve noticed that a lot of it’s like a tease in one way. the girls will come over where I’m sitting and talk to J: Like a? me and to me that’s just as nice as watching, I like to F: Tease. But others think mix like that, and you probit’s a career and things like ably noticed lastnight I was that, but others think it’s there to watch, I just sat a tease y’know, eggin the thereblokes on, and different things like that. F: Oh aye, she come ower and she was sittin talkin to E: I’m very interested in the us for ages, waren’t she? fact that that’s what you found, that it was girls from J: Yes. around here, when you travelled far away it was still E: I think it’s, it’s proba-

Northern girls who did it. So what do you think it could be about Northern culture and Northern girls that makes that, you know that sort of makes them more predisposed to do this kind of work? F: I divn’t kna, cos some o’ them think, they’re gettin further away they make more money, different places, y’kna what I mean? They might get more money workin down at Edinburgh than what they de here, and different things like that, cos different places pay different money. I mean like there’s The Brunswick, you’re talkin fifteen pound a lapdance, you go down to, I think it’s Angels in Redcar, I’m not sure, I think it’s still ten pound a dance, but the girls, over a certain amount, the club takes so much off them. They’ve got like at Little Black Book at Sunderland, it’s only twelve pound fifty a dance, but the girls only get seven pound of that, the club takes the rest. E: So Maurice you were just about to say something? J: I was going to say there’s this big difference between South and North, most of the girls are Northern girls, in the South they’re perhaps foreigners. The people up here are different. They’re much more friendly and open. I wouldn’t think of a meeting like this in the South of England, this would be unthinkable, but up here it doesn’t matter, I mean, if you went into a pub in the South of England you’d sit there and have a drink and then go out. I mean you wouldn’t think that a girl would come over and talk to you. That 137

would be unthinkable. So it’s something to do with the Northern mentality. And that’s not only with that sort of work, it’s everywhere I go, I find that Northern people are much more open and will talk to you and, in fact that’s one, I mustn’t identify myself too much but that’s one of the reasons I came up here, because the South of England I found so isolated on my own.

F: And like I got stopped by the police takin two or three o’ the dancers hyem, J: But that’s not representajust dropped them off the tive of all the girls though. nightclub, I got stopped, I got locked up because F: Aw, nah. I mean I was they said I was breakin into drivin this lass, she says cars and different things can ye wait for us and take like that, which I wasn’t. I us home. I says aye, I’ll wait spent all night in the blimfor yes. I mean they were min cell, and they said ah, at Whitley Bay says can ye we’re gonna let you go with come back at four o’clock, I no further evidence and went back at four o’clock in things like that. The first the morn to pick them up, time I got stopped by the that’s what time they were police for takin the dancfinished. Gets there, I’m siters hyem I think was Kathy, she just jumped out the car, tin outside, I sat there for two and a half hours, the y’kna she jumped out the bouncer was there, I says car and were askin what “do you know if err Hurley we’re deein, and she just gets up on the bonnet o’ the and them’s gone?” “Ah, they went at half past twelve.” car, just flopped ‘er boobs The didn’t even bother out and the cops just start phonin me to let me know to laugh, say “aw, get in, that they’d gone, just decide get yersels away.” I mean I to gan and never bothered thought we were gonna get tellin me. I wasted me time locked up. I mean the first night I drove a couple o’ the gannin all the way back there to pick them up. And dancers, they were workin I’ve been two or three time in the whatyoucall the Blue in a pub and they’ve gone Ice club in Shields, they asked if they can stop at the “ah can you take us home?” and all that, and I’ve hung garage cos they wanted to around, hung around, hung get somethin to eat, which around, then at the end of I did. Luckily I didn’t move the day she’s gone off wi the car like cos if I’d moved somebody else, cos there’s the car I’d o’ getten done a bloke been feedin her for aidin and abettin, they drink and she’s decided to come out they had boxes go off wi him. o’ chocolates eh, all sorts shoved underneath their E: So do you think maybe coat, different things like

that, and I says looka, I says ye can take them back now cos I’m not movin the car until yes de, which they did take them back like and the bloke in the thing was just laughin, but I wasn’t movin the car cos everything was on CCC camera. If I drove away I’m aidin and abettin by helpin somebody shoplift, which I’m not into, breakin the law, and different things like that, but they had boxes o’ chocolates, bars o’ chocolates, all sorts shoved underneath their coats.

there’s an element of this profession, there’s something about it that’s quite sort of unreliable, or it’s maybe not got, there’s never really that many rules in place anywhere, nothing is defined in a sense, you know there’s no guarantees is there? F: No. J: No, it wants a union really doesn’t it? To interchange between different venues and that, girls would leave one venue for another one and, yes. E: I think that that’s something that’s big in the sort of campaigning for sex workers is thatF: It’d be nice, y’know, most pubs you go to’ve got dancers on but every time you go it’s the same dancers over and over again where if you went there was like a different dancer each time, I think it’d be a lot better, cos you’re gettin to see them all aren’t ya? It’s nice to see new faces, different things like that, to me. E: I suppose if there were a union it would all become more, you’d be able to set more of a sort of common standard, it’d be a less volatile kind of business. J: Mmhmm, I once went into a pub wearing my, here, I’ve got it on, my university badge, and the dancer came up, “I know you, you’re in my class!” Shhhh. So I had to be very careful in class not to, she obviously didn’t want anybody to know. But that’s a pity isn’t it? I mean why not? Presumably just because of these nasty minded people who’d take it 138

out on her. F: A lot of dancers, they divn’t, mother and father and that didn’t even know what they were dein. J: Well that’s a pity isn’t it? F: Cos there was one I used to drop off, she’d say “aww, can you drop us here and I’ll just walk round the corner?” because she didn’t want her mam and dad to know where she’d been or what she was dein and different things like that. J: Yeah. E: What about partners, boyfriends, do you have any experience of girls and their relationships? What effect do you think it has on that? F: I dunno cos there was a lot of the dancers, I mean there was Rachel, there was a lor of them, they always seem to go for the blokes that bray them up, knock them about a bit, and always seem to split up and next thing you know they’re back together again, and different things like that. Cos I used to drive eh, oh what they call her? I can’t remember her name now. But her boyfriend used to knock ‘er about and all sorts, used to be always fightin. Cos he threatened, he threatened, Brad and he’s wife, her boyfriend, he was in The Brunny one night and he threatened Carol, the same lad. Wey you know Joanne don’t know, it was her boyfriend, the split up, went back and all that, and now they’re back together, but he always seems to knock her about and she, I dunna, some of the dancers seem to like the rough blokes y’know, I mean

the were, I dunno whether it was Cheryl. Was it Cheryl or, Cheryl and another one. She was doin a lad, he used to knock her about and all that, and she did away wi hersel through it. J: Yeah, this is another problem isn’t it? F: Aye, and her boyfriend did hesel in n’all. E: So she killed herself? F: Oh aye. E: I remember her. From years ago. F: From Middlesbrough? E: Yes. F: Aye. E: She was lovely. F: I’ve forgetten her name now. E: Blonde. F: Aye. E: She gave me a lapdance. I’d never had a lapdance when I went to work in this club and she said “I’ll give you a lapdance so you know what it’s about.” It’s a really sad thing that happened. F: Aye. E: It’s really sad. So what do you think it is then? Do you think the particular type of girl who does that, that a lot of girls would, I don’t know, a girl who works as a stripper might also be attracted to men who don’t treat them well. F: Aye.

J: I’d not thought about that at all. F: Most o’ the lasses I used to know from Milburn, their boyfriends used to bray them up, knock them about a bit.

F: Wey Scarlet used to be the one who used to come on the motorbike. J: That’s right, yes. F: Wey them two used to nearly always work together.

J: Were they, oh. And the J: I’ve been where a girl has other difficult situation I’ve come with her husband or been in, perhaps on the partner and he comes over J: I’ve had girls saying to to you, “would you like a lap- Metro and you sit down and you’re perhaps sitting oppo- me they’re dissatisfied dance with my wife?” and because another girl has things like that! I’ve had that, site one of the dancers, in a got a job there and not getdifferent area. And do you which erm, and I’m always ting enough work with the speak? It’s always been a bit nervous when a girl agents. comes over and talks to you alright but er, I mean you don’t know what F: Oh aye. F: Did you know Star? A the position is do you, and dancer called, her proper whether I might get myself J: Some do it on their own name was Lucy. I took her into trouble see should you I think, completely don’t to a nightclub one night. be talking to her. But I’ve they? How we didn’t get arrestnever hade any trouble. ed I don’t kna, cos she was E: I think so. I think, gettin changed in the back E: So, now you’re saying of the car. Just rippin her that, I remember there was F: I think some o’ the danca couple that I knew. Do you clothes off, gettin changed in the back of the car to gan ers go a little bit further remember Gigi? than what they should do, to this nightclub. She was get more work n’all, to me, goin lookin for a ladyfriend. F: No I don’t. I’ve never seen her for years. y’know, some go a bit further than they should, I think E: Her and her husband them get more work than E: I think she lives in a difwere both strippers so they others. ferent city now. used to do a lot of jobs together. J: Yeah. F: I don’t know if she went, went to Scandinavia or F: Was her stage name F: Cos I mean there’s like somewhere to work. The Lulu? Lily, she’s one of the best last I heard she was workin dancers I know Lily, beautiin For Your Eyes Only, that E: Maybe. ful to look at, but the likes was a bit back. o’ Lush and that was comF: I think that it is. He was plainin they didn’t like the E: Do you have any experilike a male stripper and he outfit she was wearing, difence with agents? was also a DJ, aye. I know ferent things like that. Said who you mean now. Well she wasn’t sexy and difF: No. There was only like you’ll know Lulu, she used ferent things like that. And Carol did the agency. She to be out with Scarlet. she’s a lovely lass. Cos she asked us a couple o’ times wasn’t puttin herself about to drive for her, and I think J: Used to be? and different things like that, Suzanne asked us to drive shovin hersel onto blokes once but that’s about it. F: Always, it was always like and different things like that, Lulu and Scarlet used to they didn’t wanna know. E: Did you have any experiwork together. ence, did you ever hear the girls speaking about agents E: So do you think clubs and J: I did know a girl called bars now expect more from or anything like that? Lulu who’d been dancing. the dancers? 139

F: Nur. I mean, it’s, the lasses that come up and ask me, come up approach me, “can ye drive for us?” and different things like that, cos I think they felt safe with me, cos the kna I’m not gonna try and touch them up and different things like that, where I think other drivers try it on.

F: Wey, not at the present moment. They used to. E: Can you talk to me a bit about... F: Aye when I used to go into Echo they used to have like, they used to bring both dancers on together to do what they call a lesbian act, and they used to get full, but now, they’ll have, if they have two dancers on they’ll bring the two lasses on together but they’re not allowed to get close up to eachother, they’ve got to dance like apart from eachother, if one’s dancin ower this side the other one’s got to dance ower that side, they’re not allowed to get together or owt like that, y’know, kiss eachother or rub eachother up or different things like that. I mean years ago they used to rub eachother with oil and all sorts. They used to be fun, they used to have a laugh, but it’s just not the same is it Maurice? J: No, well it’s a lot better from my point of view, I think it’s a good thing that’s all gone. F: Wey, in a way that’s probably one of the things that’s helped stoppin it, in’t it, the way they’re goin on. J: Yes. There was a lot of trouble with all this, girls going outside in the summer, the council was complaining of girls outside in bikinis and they were saying children walking down there might see it. I’d say what, you go to a swimming pool, they ought to get used to it. F: There’s no law sayin you can’t walk around the 140

streets without a top or anything on, the police just come and tell ye to cover yourself up and move on. There’s no law sayin you cannot do it. E: Maybe what they were concerned about was the fact that men would also, you know, that there’s kind of, I suppose it comes down to like a kind of what context it’s in. J: Yes, yes, it’s alright in a swimming pool or on the beach but not there, it might give the wrong impression of what’s going on. I suppose it is fair, yes. E: Just the imbalance you know with, if all the guys were also wearing briefs. J: Yes. E: It might give children the impression of being some kind of, they might wonder what the dynamic is between the sexes in that case. And so, what do you remember of driving girls around Sunday clubs? F: Just gan from club to club and carry the bags in and just watch and that’s about it. E: Can you describe to me what it was like, what the setup was, cos I never did a Sunday club. Can you describe to me what the setup was in terms of what the clubs have in them and that kind of thing? F: Wey most clubs, you used to go in, used to carry the bags, dancers used to go in the changin rooms, get theirsels ready, they used to have a quiz and like a bingo and different things like

that, and they’d fetch the dancer on, the dancer would do their spot, she would go off and they’d have mebbes another bingo on, different things like that, then they bring another dancer on, then they’d go off and that’d be it mainly. The dancers is mainly entertainment for like in between the bingos and that. I mean Framlington Local Club (?) they used to have bingos on in between in each dance. E: Did everybody pay attention, was it like a big thing when the dancers came in? F: Aye. Some o’ them did, some o’ them didn’t. Some used to say “aww, not her again!” and different things like that, but that were about it. We used to have some good fun. J: I caused a great deal of uproar with that report when I presented it in the class, people they were amused by it and pulling my leg about it. The lecturer said oh it was an excellent piece of work, I’ll give you a distinction, but the one thing I’ve got to criticise is, there weren’t any pictures. There was a nun present too, a nun in the class, and they all took it in good fun. E: That’s interesting. Should I stop it there?

Lauren T2C29 L: Sort of what’s the point? E: Well exactly, I think what’s the point. Erm, OK, I’m just gonna. That’s actually a nice shot so I’m going to lock it. L: I’m just going to go through my script...they’ll do for the little point and make us a star, and we’re looking to shoot about... do you shoot uninterrupted film or are you gonna break or are you gonna do it in segments? E: Yeah, probably in that. What I’d like to do as well is for you to kind of do some stuff where you move around, you show me bits and pieces. L: We did have a pole in here, not that that would be much use knowing me T3C1 L: There is a little bit of... they’re not even bingo wings. E: Will you be like that? Is that how you’re gonna be? OK, cool. That is a really. L: I’ll move right into the corner so... Because what I’m going to use as a bit of a guide is the bible, Maxi Mounds’ Guide To The World Of Exotic Dancing. The reason I have my glasses on is to make me look slightly more intelligent. E: Hold your hands still just for a sec while I get a... OK, cos for this one we’re just gonna keep it, I don’t want too much of your, I’m actually gonna go closer. 141

L: Well my boob’s coming out as well, that’s part of the theme, if that’s alright. I don’t mind everyone seeing my boobs, everyone else has seen them anyway. It’s just sort of intrinsic to the fact that that’s what everyone tends to think about when they’re talking to me. What do they look like? E: That I think is a good. L: OK, so when you’re ready to start, E: I’m gonna get the mic as well. L: When you’re ready to start, do that. And when you’re ready to sort of wind up, when you want me to start winding up the last two or three minutes, do something like that. Winding it up. E: What do you want me to do when I’m ready to start? L: To start, just go like that. E: OK. I mean I’m not going to guide this in any way. L: If you want to stop and restart again cos we’re going down the wrong path, because, right OK in short, what would you like to cover, what would be things you would want to cover? Because I’ve got ideas but obviously your ideas and my ideas are gonna be different and I’m happy to, I want to get what you want, so. E: I am basically trying to make it, I’m particularly interested in stripping agencies, and in stripping across the North East and agency work rather than lapdancing clubs is kind of what I’m. Can you talk?

L: Yes of course I can. E: Like at the level you’ll be talking at. L: Yes, like at this level. Is that alright? E: Yeah, if you try to sort of keep it reasonably loud, not unnaturally. L: Yes, in order for that to happen I need a starting point, so... E: I will ask you a question. L: We had, we had paganism at the starting of stripping, and then... E: OK, hang on, hang on, I’m gonna start. Lauren take one (clap). L: Hello I’m Lauren and I’ve been dancing for approximately fifteen years and sometimes well, sometimes not so well, and I’ve worked in some of the best clubs in Europe and some of the worst ones. I’ve crawled around on my hands and knees on glassy floors with dirty old men smoking roll-ups who couldn’t even be bothered to look at me on a Sunday club. A Sunday club by the way is when you get driven around by your agent’s driver and accquire about ten pounds for taking your entire kit off and lying on the floor three sheets to wind, dry humping the ground to Jefferson Airplane. As you might’ve noticed I’m a little bit more intelligent than your average stripper. That’s probably not true. I would say that a lot of strippers are intelligent, it’s just that they don’t come across as being intelligent because men don’t want 142

that run Sunday clubs and them to, and that’s I’ve discovered in the years of strip- working men’s clubs tend to be the worst of all and I ping. They want you to wear hope they’re watching this these shoes rather than so I can really offend them these shoes, because their wife wears these shoes and because I despise them. They pretend to be your that’s not what they want. best friend. At the beginThey want a fantasy. They ning they’ll be the long lost want someone contrived. Although I don’t understand sister you’ve never met but within a week they’ll what is a fantasy and contrived about crawling around be phoning you and asking you to do twenty pound on your hands and knees in jobs sixty miles away from a working men’s club Sunhome. You’ll have to sit in day afternoon with cheese the car with a boring borand pineapple sticking out ing driver. It’s no fault of his of like, yeah, sausages on own that he’s boring but I sticks, that sort of thing if mean what are you gonna you’re lucky. There’s the have in common with a man whip round, that’s an interyou’ve just met. You would esting one. Quite often you’ll have to get a jar and in get in that car and proceed order to get a tip to pay your to get as drunk as possible. That’s what the majority of agent, oh yes because you strippers do in order to get have to pay them an extorthrough this. tionate amount of money to work for them, you’ll have Which moves me neatly to walk around begging onto the next thing - drugs, for your money and basistripping, drinking. There’s cally my thing to do was a lot of drinking and drugs to take my not unsubstaninvolved in the stripping tial breasts, get a jar, put world. I would not say there it between them where it was any less than 90% of would stay naturally, thank strippers I know that take god for the three boob jobs cocaine or did on a reguand err, yeah, walk around lar basis until the cheaper ask them to put money drugs filtered through and in and they would throw pounds, sometimes a fiver if now they’re all, they’ve all lost their mental capacities, I was very lucky and if they threw a two pence or a pen- cos we don’t know what’s in these. Fortunately it was ny in they would get stood such a time that I gave up on. They have been known what I was I was doing and to get aggressive. Somemoved on back to my unitimes they’d say “fuck off you stupid bitch, why should versity education, but there are the majority of girls I give you any money?” aren’t in a position to do this Sometimes they just say “I hate you, fuck off.” You want and all the time I’ve been stripping I’ve been writing a to make friends with the diary or trying to keep some DJ, not anybody who’s playsort of journal, log of what ing the music because they I’ve been doing and how I’ve really fancy themselves as been feeling at any one time, do all the men who work and I must say that the good in this industry, but that’s outweighed the lows. That’s not to rule out the ladies a complete lie. The lies outbecause the ladies that weighed the goods and tend to run such agencies

you may feel like the queen of the world one night but most of the time you’re gonna feel like something you’ve trod in and that’s not a nice feeling. Doesn’t matter how intelligent or beautiful you are there’ll be a man who is prepared to bring you down and make you feel worse than you’ve ever felt in your entire life, and if a man doesn’t do it then definitely a woman does it because of course the other girls you work with, you’ll also find there’s an incredible amount of bitchiness in this business, as you would fully expect. E: I’m just gonna, cos you moved your head slightly, but erm, I think it was at the point where you were saying about, L: So do you want more or? E: Erm, it’s really good by the way, it’s great, I mean, it’s brilliant because every other girl I’ve interviewed, the only other person who has had anything even vaguely on the negative side to say or kind of intelligent and you know was Kath, she’s the only person. L: Kath’s a good girl, I don’t say that often. E: Yeah, she’s bright, and she’s the only other person who’s had any... kind of thing, butL: I think they’re frightened to say it because they think it’ll come back, won’t be able to get work. Fuck it I’ve already burned my bridges on purpose so I couldn’t go back. E: I’m just gonna quickly check the exposure. OK. 143

T3C2 E: Lauren take two (clap). L: Has working in a working men’s club given me any kind of hatred of men? It’s a difficult question to answer. For the past ten years I’d have said absolutely not, no, my feelings for men haven’t changed except at the end of the night when I’m tired, in the same way as any job that you do, at the end of the day you’re tired, you want a cup of tea, have a bubble bath and then the next day you feel fresh and ready to start again, but the thing with stripping, especially in working men’s clubs is that it wears you down and down and down. I’ll quote one of my best friends who was doing working men’s clubs long before I was, and she had a child at seventeen and as a result she had to start stripping very young and she said to me one Sunday morning on the way to her seventh club, “Lauren I feel like pulling the car over the side of the road and just killing us because it would be better than having to go and do this,” to which I answered “yeah, I know.” And we just sat and cried in eachother’s arms, and if that sounds melodramatic you’ve got to think you’ve got a pitbull-like woman to answer to on the other end of the phone constantly ringing and asking you, shouting “where are you?” When you get there it could be anything from three dirty old men to a whole room full of boozed up stags of varying ages, some stags that can barely walk cos they’re so old and the place will be stinking. Changing facili-

ties normally include a dirty toilet with a broken window and often glass on the floor again. One thing that I did learn to do is always wear rubbery socks with thigh high boots over the top for the reason that you will always always always get cut by glass when you’re dancing. It involves a lot of crawling around on the floor cos there’s no stage in general. Usually they’ll just put a chair in the middle of the floor for you and you’re on old carpet from the 1960s which has been lovingly placed not corner to corner but sort of like in raggy, scraggy areas of the floor with nails sticking through will be your home for the next ten minutes as you attempt to bump and grind to the dukebox that on occasion I have actually had to pay my own money for. I wasn’t happy but I was offered some party sausage rolls from Iceland. I’m a vegetarian so unfortunately that wasn’t ample. In any case, moving swiftly on. I’ve had some terrible experiences. I’ve also had some very funny ones, but they really don’t spring to mind. What springs to mind is the feeling of the two days before you know that you have to work, and in those two days the sickness that starts to well up in your stomach, and I used to think this was just me. I spoke to other girls and I found they felt the same, the sickness welling up in your stomach, you feel more and more nauseous and eventually by the day you actually start wretching and yeah, you don’t dare not do Sunday clubs because Sunday clubs are the way into getting weekday work

and weekday work from an agent is slightly more money, say you’ll come out with forty pounds and you’ll be there for three hours, having to go on twice and you’ll walk round with a jar. She might come out with fifty, sixty pounds but then again you’ve got to pay a driver. It’s all glamorous. Poles. There’s very very rarely, in fact I think I’ve only worked in two working men’s clubs with poles, hastily thrown up and I don’t think one was an actual pole but just a bit of metal from B&Q that someone had screwed to the ceiling but in any case it wouldn’t have supported my weight which is quite generous for a stripper. I must say that has never been a problem for men. I suppose from the earliest days of Mae West who would definitely give me a run for my money with her size. It was more about the confidence. And it is about the confidence, if you project that confidence you will make money. If you don’t project it you won’t. It’s the same thing in a working men’s club. If you walk out there and look nervous with your jug they’ll throw penny after penny after penny in and you’ll end up with a jug full of pennies. That’ll probably be the title of the book if I ever wrote it, which I actually intend to do but I’m a procrastinator. A Jug Full of Pennies or Reluctant Mermaids, another one, that being part of a poem I wrote. I do write poetry as a means of catharsis. So often I’ll come in and write a poem that would help because your partner doesn’t want to talk to you about it. No matter how nice your partner is, I’ve never met one partner that is happy to talk about work when 144

you get in, and let’s face it it is four o’clock in the morning but even if it wasn’t I have to say if the shoe was on the other foot I would listen because I’m mostly the one who pays the bills, always have been, and that’s another sad thing about strippers. In general people assume that we’re kept women, we earn a lot of money. Yeah there’s times when we do but a large portion of it tends to get spent on shoes, drugs, handbags, outfits, hair, makeup and at the end of it you’re left with very little. Scratching my nose cos I’ve got a cold by the way, in case anyone thinks it’s the Colombian flu. In any case. At the moment what I’m reading is Maxi Mound’s Guide to the World of Exotic Dancing. Maxi Mound is currently the stripper with the largest implants in the world, and doing some research, although it’s not mentioned in the book, I also found out that you can hire Maxi for three thousand pounds an hour for sex, although I’m not sure how that sex could actually take place as her breasts are so large, I know I have enough trouble with mine, basically there are only two positions that are humanly possible, unless there’s one I haven’t thought of, it really is difficult. Erm, yep, the old erm moneymakers. I would say they’ve made me a lot of money over the years. They are 36H and they weigh nearly a stone in weight which is staggeringly heavy to carry around. But the worst thing about it is it has permanently branded me as a stripper. I can wear a dress like this which would look classy on some-

one else, but on me it will still look overtly sexual without me wanting it to. Sometimes I might want it to, but yeah, that must be difficult for any man that’s with me. I do feel sorry for any man that’s with me, but in any case I do hope that one day the scars on my knees and thighs, hands, wrists and elbows will heal but it’s part of being a stripper, you’re not prepared for that. You’re not insured for that and it’s always a reminder of what you did, what you were. Just remember it’s not all gliding round a pole looking like a princess. Because I read that the most scary and terrifying information in the Guardian was that 75% of little girls now, their dream job is to be a pole dancer. When I was little, giving my age away, it used to be a nurse or a princess. People think pole dancers are princesses, people think dancing, dancing, just the term dancing in itself, is glamorous. That it has anything to do with Burlesque or any of those arts is complete fallacy. There are a group of girls who are known as the Old School Girls. I’m not an Old School Girl, but err E: Sorry, can I just ask something, cos your legs are cut off and I’m thinking maybe we want for this bit, would you want to have your legs down, would that be kind of erm, that’s quite, that’s quite nice actually, that’s really nice, then there’s kind of a variety on. T3C3 E: Lauren take three (clap) L: There are a group of

strippers known as the Old School Girls, both amongst themselves and amongst the other girls, not in a derogatory manner, in fact I know that they would see themselves as dancing royalty and to some degree they definitely are in that they still had an act, they still had outfits made and that outfit would take a substantial amount of time to take off alongside a musical number which was always the same and they would probably do about six of these different acts and mix them up and in those days, at least then you’re only taking your knickers off at the very end of the song. I’d say that now the general consensus is the girl would bring a bikini or the tiniest outfit she can, basically walk around being half groped or groped by the men in the room, and then she’ll crawl round on her hands and knees, take the bikini off and lie there naked on the floor which was one of the first sights I saw when I said to my best friend I will never ever do that kind of work. I was a poledancer then. Then I realised it’s very very quick money. The downside, it was being outweighed by the fact that I could go for a few minutes, but the few minutes turned into longer and longer because they want to keep you in there as long as they can for as little money, and there is no end of danger or things that can happen to you. You’ll be sexually harassed by the bosses, you’ll be sexually harassed by the punters, there’s absolutely no security. You could be grabbed by anyone, you could be grabbed in private regions. I once had a piercing in my clitoral hood and that 145

was pulled by a punter in a working men’s club, it was excruciating, it was bleeding for two weeks. I’ve since had that piercing removed unsurprisingly. Fortunately it was my clitoral hood and I can laugh about it now, but I know girls who’ve had worse. Actually a nipple ripped off through a nipple piercing. So I suggest if you’re a stripper do not have piercings. Would I suggest you become a stripper? No. There’s lots more I could talk about. In general I would say that the money you make, I’ve worked out that probably if you pay your taxes, which a lot of girls don’t, I did, you’re probably gonna come out with about eighty, about twenty five percent of what you make and that’s after you’ve had your hair, nails, everything else. People say those things are tax deductible, but it’s very very difficult to prove that that’s the reason you’re having them done so that’s rubbish. In the end I just found it was easier not to claim for those things and I’d probably have them anyway. Will there ever be a day I’ll go back to being completely natural? Well, we’ve had the scare with PIP implants, so I could be walking round with mattress foam inside my breasts now. I think it’s been a jarring warning to most of us because I would say about 70% of strippers have implants now, and again that is very different from when I started, because when I started stripping I would say I was one of only maybe fifty girls in the country who had them. I mean sort of knows, sort of stars really, through the Daily Star and the Sun-

day Star because we had implants and the bigger the implant the more famous you were. That was just the way it was. Now I would say the bigger your implant is the more grief you get, and I would not want to set foot in one of those places again. Long term things that I’ve suffered as a result of doing this job, one of them is that while stripping obviously you do tend to go through a phase where you’re very thin and this will wear away at the gristle of your joints. Cartilage sorry, so the cartilage of your joints will wear away, so your knees, cos you’re constantly going down to deep squats, the cartilage will wear away there so you click every time you kneel down. Elbows, neck, you’ll have neck problems because if you can’t dance, the best thing to do is probably always to just swing your hair around in a circle. We all do it. I did it once very embarassingly and knocked myself out on the pole, but that’s another story not for now. Fortunately I did get out of that one pole session. Interestingly enough by the way, we do not get paid to go on the pole. Even if we’re in the middle of a dance we must stop that dance and go and do our pole otherwise we’ll be fined or we could be fired. Basically everything is biased against dancers. I can’t think of anything that is biased towards us, and that’s not just because I’ve done it, it’s not just because I’m finished with it, it’s because I really can’t think of a positive. The girls are set against eachother. Even the girls you think are your friends, you’ll end up having terrible rows with at some stage based on some-

thing somebody might’ve said or because one of you might’ve got drunk and done something stupid, forgotten even what they were doing and these are things you might regret for the rest of your life, so I would say to anyone first of all stay away from working in any kind of, working for any kind of agent. They’ll take the majority of your money and you’re gonna end up with very little and an annoying driver that talks about mobile phones constantly, although I must say that particular driver does have a special place in my heart as a very sweet person. He has listened to me drone on incessantly about a lot of other things. We’ve had our times. Also, sexual abuse from drivers. I’ve been lucky, I’ve only ever had two drivers, and that particular driver that I’ve just mentioned is the perfect gentleman and has never bothered me in any way. Another driver has issues that I won’t go into but they do involve an alleged sex crime, so there is definitely definitely definitely see things that happen with people when you think about, you’ve got to think you might be in the car drunk at night and not even know where you are or what you’re doing, so if you haven’t kept your wits about you, and believe me it’s easy to get out of them because the club could be offering you triple vodkas for free, you might be so out of it you don’t know what you’re doing and then they might take advantage of you. Another statistic that I read was about rape, and I would say I know a large majority of strippers who’ve 146

been raped, and even people involved in the whole genre, it seems to be something that attracts it. I also had a friend who once said to me about the stripping in the working men’s clubs, it was a Sunday afternoon and we had been out the night before and just came outside and the sunlight was streaming so we put our glasses on and were all just hiding in the car and she said “you do realise that just to do this there must be something seriously mentally wrong with us? There must be something mentally deficient with us that you would go to a random club that you’ve been given the name of anywhere where, let’s face it your grandad could be sitting there” - and believe me, relatives have been there when I’ve done it. Did they walk out? Did they buggery. You can bleep that out if you want. Distant relatives have actually been there when I’ve stripped and I’ve had to. There’s also, unfortunately, and I blame the places for this, there’s also been children around to stay in the bar, at which point I refuse to take my underwear off until that child, said child was removed. But the parents were not happy, they were very angry that I forced this. Yeah, it is quite shocking. So if there’s anything else you’d like to know? E: How did you get into agency stripping work? How did it begin? L: Agency stripping work, it was through my best friend and she was doing it as I said, I saw her do it for the first time and I was horrified and I was working in a very well known poledanc-

ing club and I said I’ll never do that. Two weeks later I got fired from said poledancing club, through no fault of my own, though everybody does say that, it was through no fault of my own, it was through sexual harrassment, and erm I just couldn’t take it anymore, so I moved on to doing this, and I did find it gave me more freedom. I’d phone in on a Monday, find out, I’d phone in on a Monday, my agent would invariably not know what dates were available. I’d phone back on the Tuesday, find out what dates were available. She’d usually mess me around for at least another day so that by this point it’s Wednesday and then Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday are the days when you usually would get work but there was no sort of coherence between one job and another so, it’d be a save for a driver from having to drive from one job that’s fifty miles away for another, I’ll put you on two that are close together, she’d put you one that was fifty miles away from the other and you’d have to pay the driver obviously for his time as well usually, and that’s what would happen, and it would happen regularly. Also the fights between the girls would get ridiculous. There was a time when we were all about and there was a fight involving twelve girls. One got punched in the eye, that was me, trying to separate two girls who were trying to bully another one for absolutely no reason other than they were jealous, and yeah, basically the agent knew about, knew that there were personality clashes and she just let it go on. So I didn’t hit the girl back purely because the man who

owned the bar, the pub was there and I didn’t want to make us look bad, but I was absolutely furious, there’s nothing you can do, and at the end there is nothing you can do. If you’re working in a club and you’re accused of something, the chances of you being able to prove that you’ve not done the thing that you’ve been accused of are so slim and then even if you can prove it you’re arguing with your boss, who by the way could be five to ten years younger than you and may only have one year of experience when you’ve got twelve, but you’ve got to listen to them and treat them as a teacher figure. That’s very annoying, that’s something I hated, but to get back to your original question how I got into working in working men’s clubs was through my best friend. She just simply asked my agent if I could. My agent hadn’t seen me, she doesn’t make a habit of meeting the girls first, she simply speaks to them on the phone which is mind boggling, and she doesn’t even see if they can dance first, which is good. I’m not the best dancer, erm I must admit that these have got me away with an awful lot. I’m not the worst it’s just that I’m an incredibly uptight sort of person and I do find I need alcohol to relax. The problem for me is knowing the precise point at which to stop so I’m teatotal now, and I don’t smoke, I don’t do any of the bad things. Anyway my friend got me into it and I heard nothing for a month, then another girl who I knew through it, she actually saw me and she told the agent that I was very pretty, which is nice, and the agent gave me a few jobs which led to more 147

and more jobs and that led to me pretty much doing about three to four jobs a week which was considered to be top if you did Sunday clubs. If you did Sunday clubs you’d get the good jobs and if you didn’t do them you’d get punished by the poorer paid ones in the worst areas. One of them, I’ll call it Saturns, is approximately 90 miles away from here and ninety miles away probably for most of the girls unless they happen to live near that area which I can’t imagine, and that one involves dancing in a cage all night while they feed you sort of rank free drink and the facilities are so disgusting, it stinks so badly, it is, there’s also a type of lapdancing that goes on, back and behind that room and you get five pounds per dance but they will try and grab you, grope you, there’s no security at all, and the club will take fifteen pounds out of that dance, so that is a huge amount more than any regulated lapdancing club, so that is another type of working men’s club. Not many people know about these. That’s a thing that would be a good thing to get out, not many people know that this goes on, when they’re having their Sunday lunches and you know picnics in the park that there’s girls between seventeen and I have known up to fifty-five, crawling around on glass covered floors, being surrounded by jeering men and sometimes groped. Sometimes attacked, and erm, sometimes just wishing their lives were over. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, as a lot of us have proved. So thankyou.

E: Aww, that’s great, that’s so good. Amazing. I’m really really happy. I’m just wondering if I can get some shots of you like. L: Look at that! Look at that! I don’t even know exactly, actually yes I do, what’s causing the things, there’s two washing baskets underneath and then on top of that there’s clothes. They’re clean, but you start to forget what’s clean and what’s dirty, but yeah. What were you saying? I could stand here and brush my hair. I was standing up, I still haven’t mastered.... oww. Cos you want filler material don’t you? E: Yeah. I’d forgotten, something really important that I want you to do. I’m just gonna do the focus for a sec. T3C4 L: There he is! You’re such a little pig. It’s awful in here. This is where I do makeup and it just, god, no. I’ll print something out, yeah, I’ll print something out. You can come in, I don’t mind that, it’s just the mess. E: Hang on I’ve got a really good shot. Can get it into focus. L: Yes, you can see everything. E: Is this all your makeup I take it? T3C5 L: It’s gone, god, I’ve got everything. Everything’s a mess. I wish it was clean and neat so you could see my bookcase and mixture of sort of like Hollywood stars and so on. Right, so.

E: Can I not go and get some close-ups? L: You could, yes. Yes, you can see the... the Katie Price. Here we go, OK. E: OK, right. Want to make sure that you’re totally audible so I’m gonna put this on here so it’s close to you, right on the thing. OK, can you talk into that? L: Ooh, sugar. E: Yeah, maybe, put it on a knee kind of level, that’s a good level to have it at. L: Oh god, don’t make me listen to this. And this poem’s called Sad Venus. E: Just a sec, I’m just gonna check that you’re in focus, sorry this is an awkward thing to have to do. And don’t move that because I had you right in it. Like that is really good so that you’re in it. Just gonna check. T3C6 E: I wasn’t filming any of that! L: We’ll start again. I made a mistake anyway. So this was a poem I wrote in a cathartic way to deal with my feelings about the miscarriage that I had, and it’s one I still haven’t got over but I did find that writing the poem did help and some people did understand, that was nice to know. It’s written in a slightly abstract sense but anyway. A Lost Child. A lost child, frail the white rose and frail are her hands that gave and took, whose soul is serene and paler, and time’s one wave. Petal frail and fair yet frail148

est. A wander wild, in gentle lies thou vailest our long lost child. Tulips you are, the smell of cut grass after rain you are. You’re cornflowers with gusts wildly pounding above, a dove so high you are, and all this unknown to the world. Let them never know it. Finally I wrote one that might be quite interesting to this. I wrote about basically I have to use the word stripper. She was a black stripper and she was from a race that is African-American but has, no African, but they have very very very heavy labia and bottoms, huge breasts, very very heavy and long, and in the Victorian era it was considered a great great thing to see, they loved freakshows so obviously for them that was a great thing for them to see. I am actually trying to find it now, I can’t find it. E: Is this your Deviantart account? L: Yes it is, yes. I honestly wouldn’t have put my pictures on if I’d known that some people would write that I can’t take your poetry seriously now I’ve seen you. That was really quite sad. E: So somebody said that they couldn’t take your poetry seriously? L: They said now that I’ve seen you you’re too, oh well. I can’t seem to find the poem about... E: Could you read the one that you read first? L: That one’s been lost unfortunately by the computer.

E: Sad Venus? L: Sad Venus, yes, I can read Sad Venus again. E: Cos I wasn’t filming any of the bit when you read it. I’m just gonna try to find a way to clap. Lauren reading Sad Venus for the second time (clap). K, you’re just gonna have to hang on a sec while I, I’m not very used to this whole filming business yet. OK. L: If Venus got down from her pedestal she’d make an impassioned cry: I may be made of stone but I have a heart, I cry. I have a brain, I think with it, for though I’m made of stone, a thing of beauty is a joy in passing. It’s the mind that makes us, not skin and bone. We have a right to show our bodies just because we can but male or female mark my words, it’s the mind that makes the man. E: You erm, you read me one that had the reluctant mermaids bit in it. L: Yes I did, do you want me to read that? E: Love for you to read that, yes. L: The Costa Concordia. Of course at the time I wasn’t aware of how much he’d abandoned the ship, of how he’d jumped into one of the boats and refused to go back for the other people. The Costa Concordia. The Captain held but lost the ship. The water, hung with deep veils of festive green, christened with bows of death, milky brackish fluid flooded hitting every floor before the oceans opened their lungs and

sucked. Survivors gasped, dilute light and air coming to them in waves. In the boats, blue hearted watchers eye then twirl like eels as they are suckered under in tragic spirals. Infants torn from their wailing mothers chests, then deep in the liquid, sinking below the frigid deep like reluctant mermaids, they suck and suck and wish for gills. The water is full of whispers. They tell of how this happened before and how this never would again. The silvery fish nod their silent blessings, curiously wondering why we learnt to walk instead of swim, instead of breathe. E: I love that. L: The one that I want to get is the one that’s actually about an early stripper and it’s gonna kill me if I can’t find, I will go mad, I will go mad. E: My thing is being a bugger, it’s doing the thing where it runs out of battery really quickly, but to be honest I’ve got loads of footage of you reading them so I could actually... L: ...put it together. There was erm a pair of sisters that fell in love that were, not for this but just like, E: That was, I love that. L: (muffled from next room) T3C7 L: That’s fine. He keeps doing, you little shit! Hello, why are you always doing this, why? Why do you always do? Oww. Always scratching me. E: How old are you Lauren? 149

L: You should never ask a lady her age. E: You can ask me. L: Well I’m thirty three. I take very good care of my skin but I haven’t even washed it today, it was dry. I use a wipe. It’s dry, but yeah, I’ve been lucky, I’m genetically lucky with my skin. When my mum was forty she looked thirty, so hopefully. And she was a smoker. Smoking fetish is a thing that I do quite regularly though, so quite a lot of them will want me to smoke, and some will want me to stub the cigarettes out on them. That’s quite a severe fetish but you charge more for it. E: Are you happy to do that? L: Yeah. Would I have been happy to do that fifteen years ago? No. See I’m not the kind of person who even in a fit of temper could kill someone. I’m fascinated by killers but I don’t like to read the gore. I’m only interested in the psychology. So for example I’m not really interested in Jack the Ripper that much, because we’ll never know who it was, so we’ll never know who did it, so we’ll never know the psychology. But I’m interested in a lot of other cases, especially the ones that not many people know about. Child killers, that fascinates me, why would a child do it? And at what age do you become responsible for it? Erm, cos obviously Mary Bell the child killer, she only lived up the road from my mum at the same time as my mum was there, so that happened during my mum’s time and erm, y’know, I’m surprised she’s not more notorious

than she is, she killed two little boys which was only five and six. E: What happened? Why did she kill them? L: She was being used by her mother who was a prostitute as a, they say her mother was holding her mouth open and forcing men, not forcing men, the men were delighted because she was a beautiful little girl, she was letting men ejaculate into her mouth and she was obviously so infuriated by this. She had no love, the house was spartan, there was nothing for her. Her mother was intensely religious which was weird, a sort of jux, jux, you know what I mean, juxtaposition, but she was intensely religious and she kept trying to kill Mary, trying to poison her, but if anybody, she left her somewhere and somebody tried to keep her, bought all new clothes and stuff, they all wanted to keep her, she’d say no, I want her back, so it was very strange. This all happened in Scotswood, the 1960s and a woman called Gitta Sereny’s written two books on her and that was probably what sparked my first interest in it. And I’ve written a lot myself, poems about people like Albert Fisch who was the oldest serial killer, and the worst in the world, I would not go into detail about things he did because it was too bad. I found watching a film about him impossible, I tried to for film studies, it was impossible because I couldn’t stand to see children used in that way or hurt in that way, so yeah, actually going back to stripping you’ll find the amount of sexual abuse

is massive. The amount of strippers who were sexually abused as children or as adults is massive but especially children and teenagers becauseT4C3 E: Can I just, just gonna check the...focus. You look amazing in a fur coat. It really suits you. OK. What you were just saying, OK, I’m just gonna do the thing. Lauren, take number gazillion (clap). L: It seems to be, it’s easier if she has a, no she doesn’t. She doesn’t have a bibliography because she’s a stupid bitch. She’s probably a very nice lady. It’s just when they pretend that they don’t do that like she does in her book and then you find out that they’re prostitutes and it blurs the line even more. Erm... E: What were you saying about? L: I was saying about sexual abuse. I myself was sexually abused, not by my parents but by erm, by other people during my youth and it was quite severe and I would say that by the age of seven I definitely had no boundaries about my body, I didn’t think that it was odd to take my clothes off or, and yet unlike a lot of children who are sexually abused, because it wasn’t regular, I wasn’t sexualised, that is I wasn’t flirting with adult men and so on which I’ve seen a lot in girls that are regularly sexually abused from a young age. In any case I would definitely say that was one of the things that led me to it because... I was saying the boob job. The boob 150

job changed me. I’d been obsessed with boob jobs since as young as I could remember, because I could remember my mother saying if you have big boobs you have a power over men that other women don’t, and then I went out with a photographer when I was about twenty and he said if you have a boob, if your boobs were big enough you’ll have so much power over men that no-one will be able to compete with you. He’s since retracted that comment, and my mother has retracted her comment as well interestingly enough, but one thing that happened is yes, if I drop my books more men are willing to rush and pick them up, there is more of that. Is that necessarily a good thing? Don’t think so. Do I feel more vulnerable as a woman? Definitely. I know a girl that was raped that had boobs of my size and the man actually said to her “I wouldn’t have raped you if your breasts weren’t so big.” There you go. So I never leave the house after dark at any time. I will not leave the house after dark, unless I’m accompanied obviously, and it would have to be in a car. Erm, I never wear high heels outside, never in a position where I could be grabbed, I would never take a cut through, these sort of things are drummed into me, because so many bad things have happened, I’m almost a magnet for it, and I know actually one person did say to me well maybe it’s your fault? It’s something you do. Funny thing is that this is about as revealing as you know, okay when I danced I wore revealing clothes to dance in, but I’m not a person who wears

revealing clothes outside of work, it’s just whatever you wear, regardless, if you have an H cup breast, is going to look tarty. If you put a normal white vest on it looks tarty. Put jeans on, tarty. It’s just the way it is. I wear my glasses a lot of the time, keep my hair scraped back a lot of the time, but then again, I’m a bit of a, I’ve got bright bright red hair, and when I tried dying it brown it nearly killed me because I couldn’t stand blending in, it was weird. So I have a feeling that if I didn’t have, when I don’t have my breasts it’s gonna be a long time of adjustment and I said to my partner, well I’ll go down to a D cup, he said an E cup, so a man who claims not to be a boob man, even he’s got used to them. He said I just don’t think you’d get used to being a D, and actually I reckon I am a D now naturally anyway, as I’ve got older and put weight on, that’s what the surgeon said when he opened them up the last time. So, but they wouldn’t be a nice shape, they would be, they’ve had such big implants in so long, 900 CCs each, that is nearly a litre of water in each breast, but that’s nothing obviously compared to some of the girls I’ve known. I can only sleep in certain positions and I only got my breasts done for my job. It was never a question of doing it for myself, despite what I might’ve said to other people. It was never a question of that, it was a question of one, feeling as if I was more attractive to customers and to the outside world in general, and two, being different to everybody else, and three, definitely about the money because you’ve got to remember that at

that time I was doing adult films and also the dancing, and it made dancing so easy, I wouldn’t have to have a song for a dance, where other girls would have to dance, I could just walk past and someone would grab me, so that made my life a hell of a lot easier because I’m shy. Do you believe that? I am a shy person, so getting up on stage that first time I was literally attached to it, I couldn’t have got off it if I tried. Ironically that lamp is the lamp I first used to practise. To practise more than, gosh, fifteen years ago when I tried out for Fiores the first time, and actually I got turned down because a woman auditioned me, and I auditioned a year later and I got in straight away. So I learned my lesson there. Don’t audition for women, women tend to be bitches. That’s sad. It’s not always true, but I have more male friends than women so I don’t know. E: Do you feel any kind of, does it ever kind of make you feel, how does it make you feel that you have changed your appearance so drastically for your job and kind of for a job which is about basically selling an image of yourself to men? L: Well I’m starting to do webcam work and mistress domineering work and so I feel that they’ve been investments in that. I feel my lips have shrunk again. I had them done once, I feel my lips have shrunk again so I’m having them redone in two weeks time, so even as we speak I’m still doing the same things. I’ll get that, if you can stop that for two seconds... 151

T4C4 L: So bear in mind these were taken by an awful photographer, are completely unairbrushed and just rubbish. At this point I would have been... E: Hang on I just have to do the thing. Is it recording? Yep. Interview with Lauren, take four or five I can’t remember, photographs (clap). Oh shit, sorry, interview with Lauren take four or five, photographs (clap). L: I’m probably barely... E: Sorry I just have to, every time you come back I have to refocus the thing. I’m not the most realised person when it comes to filming. OK, go ahead. L: Well you’ll probably barely be able to see these, but this is actually the very first set of photos I did and they’re on old film which will show you how old they are, and erm I would be probably nineteen, twenty years old, had my very first boob job which was only a D cup, like a double D D, but I was very petite as you can see, and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and I was sitting on a table, so that’s my first lot. This is just a random shoot, from when I had white skin because a short while ago, not a short while ago, probably about a year and a half ago I started taking tiny injections which err, haven’t been proved to be completely safe. I inject myself with them about four or five times a week, and then sunbed about three or four times a week if I’m doing them and I come out a mediterranean colour, and I haven’t got them at the

moment but you can see the difference between my skin there and my skin there, and actually now I remember on the day feeling fat and I also remember on the day I felt very fat, very ugly and I hated my whiteness. It’s funny that now I can actually look at that picture and realise that I look sort of like Snow White and the whiteness was beautiful, and you can’t get that back once you’ve, y’know, whethered your skin, it’s freckled or marked or aged or whatever, you can’t get it back and I certainly can’t get that figure back. Erm, as I say not a good photographer but certainly, that was my last boob job, so there wasn’t much difference between the first and the second. Erm, this was a thing that I did for a magazine, based on my apparent lookalike sort of thing with Jessica Rabbit the cartoon character, and that’s just one of the many things, I did one for The Sun and various other magazines, and yep that was interesting because they twisted it to say things that I have not said at all like I like to have sex dressed as Jessica Rabbit, no I don’t. I dress like that at home, no I don’t. If they want to believe it it’s just the fact that they sell on these pictures again and again and again and then another woman copied my idea. She’s fifty seven and it was just embarassing. She’s a very strange woman, she got a real rabbit as well and she said I tried to get my partner to dress up as Roger Rabbit, I think that’d have finished it off nicely but no, he wasn’t prepared to do it. More money? Do I feel bad that I’ve compromised the way I look?

and that’d bad for my back, No, it was a personal deciand I have to work out my sion. Normally I wear green back and my pectoral muscontacts or blue contacts, cle fifteen minutes a day at even though my eyes are least, but one thing I’m getblue I like them to be bright ting into is more weightblue. I wax all my eyebrows lifting, and I think that is a off, they’re a completely good thing to, as your tesdifferent shape naturally. I tosterone levels get higher like to draw them in like when you get older it’s a pencil thin, sort of Marlene good time because I don’t Dietrich, Mae West, I like to build muscle easily, I’m very have, I had my lips done. I very very slow at building don’t like them overly big, just pouty. I would definitely, muscle, so it’s a good time I’ve had liposuction, I would to start. It also will help with my weight issue but I do definitely have more in the find that my weight issue future if I could possibly was down to me being put afford it, and I definitely will on antidepressants when if I can, work goes well. I’ll I was sixteen. Amytriptohave five areas done. I’ve line, which is a drug which had my breasts done three is known, which I didn’t times, I’ve had laser liposurgery which was the most know, but it’s known for putting on massive amounts of painful thing ever and it’s weight on people and I was left me with an actual gap living off a hundred calories in my thigh, I’ll show you. a day for literally weeks at a Actually also have the typitime, my partner would tell cal geordie night out mark there. Don’t be frightened, it you, exercising every day and lost a pound in a month was from somebody kicking me with a shoe. Yvonne, and I realised it must be the medication, had my thyroid she’s just clumsy as anything, but you can see there tested, everything. Nothing worked. Taking every diet that there’s actually a dent drug under the sun. Laxain my thigh, and that’s from tives, eating disorders, bulthe laser liposuction. I was lemia, everything. Absoawake during the procelutely nothing that I haven’t dure and I could feel everything. Erm, I’ve had this area tried to lose weight. But the removed twice but it doesn’t worst thing is, if I looked at a person my size in the ever go, but I’m gonna go past I would automatifor a third time, third time cally assume that they’re lucky and get rid of it. What eating cakes on the sly, I else would I have? With my breasts I also would go big- would automatically have ger. I don’t speak now to the assumed, I would think that “oh, they like their food,” and men online who say “when it’s wrong, but you do, and are you going bigger, when are you going bigger?” Most I didn’t realise it was the medication that could do of them I’d tell them to fuck off and say you try you know that. I didn’t realise. I don’t dragging around two bottles know how long it’s gonna take to come off, but I’m of Evian around with you down to 400 calories a day everywhere you go, it fuckand I’m staying on that, cos ing hurts. When I’m on the normally breakfast’s two computer I rest my breasts eggs, some spinach and at on the desk because it teatime I’ll have two veggy takes the weight off them 152

sausages, and maybe like half a tomato. So would I say that’s anorexia? Probably. I drink a lot of worker. I wake up in the night obviously very hungry so I take a codeine tablet which usually will help making me sleep, and then I drink a Horlicks made with water, which tastes like, as I did poitn out to my partner when he made me one, tramp’s piss, and I think it is a very clever marketing scam by the people of Horlicks to collect old tramp’s piss, dehydrate it and sell it as a nutritious drink and then you add milk, it doesn’t taste that bad, bit of sugar, and yeah, it’s the only way to explain what it tastes like when it’s mixed with water, it is the most unpleasant concoction. You could say the same about camomile tea though, so.... E: Hahaha, sorry that’s hilarious. That is hilarious. L: I wonder if the tramps are getting like a secret kick of knowing that we’re drinking their piss, or if they get paid for providing the piss or just like wait til they can’t hold on any longer and just get it there, harvest it then. That’s what it is. No getting away from it. How do I know? Well, I’ve been in the room when somebody’s been pissed on but I’ve not been involved in said pissing since I can’t pee when somebody’s in the room, that is a little bit of a problem for a mistress because it’s part of a mistress’s job to pee on their clients and I can’t do that. T4C4 E: So can you say Lauren Langley, take six, and then clap?

L: Lauren Langley, take six (clap). Well, it was once said by a well known comedian that Lauren Langley is not just a person but a species. I didn’t really know how to take that at the time but now I’m quite glad. He also said I should be a standup comic but I really can’t see it. I can be funny in my writing but when it comes to actually coming out with a punchline I’m absolutely dreadful. I would be booed off stage for that tramp’s piss thing. Definitely would. I have heard worse from Ricky Gervais recently. He’s not the well known comic. But he does know the well known comic, so, work that one out for yourself. T4C6 L: I’m a big fan of Karl Pilkington. I do think, as part of Karl Pilkington’s next series he should be forced to endure a mistress session with me. I think that’d be a fantastic part for his list. He would hate it, and that’s the whole point isn’t it, he has to hate it. It’s what my partner and he calls false fun. You know like dancing is false fun to them. But to me I can’t think of anything more false than getting a pair of high heels on and walking up and down a man’s back while calling them See You Next Tuesday, erm, you know that’s the, the people that come to you will tend to be people with a lot of money and they would also tend to be people, barristers, whatever, they work very hard in their private lives and they like to be dominated in their personal lives because of that, it’s a release of tension, very similar to self-harm153

ing, something I understand have to say, I thought a lot about it and have thought a because I have self harmed lot about it since and then in the past, obviously. It’s the only thing I haven’t done, I thought no, it’s no different from what people think not really, so I can understand that, so I wouldn’t pay when you’re dancing, so, it was more fun in a way, it for it, do it myself, but they was different. I didn’t do need someone else to do it anything that was too painand preferably an attractive ful and yeah, I’d say this woman. But yeah there’s one thing, my first dance, I certain things I would love remember thinking, came to do and that would be one of them because I think out with twenty pounds, three minutes, and I was I’d be great on that show, like, that was great, I didn’t I’d really torture him. Very important that people make get raped. That was literally what ran through my mind, the distinction in that kind and that still runs through of thing that you do not my mind when I’ve had a fancy the person that you modelling show I think that are torturing. I can’t imagwas great, I didn’t get raped ine that ever happening. I and I get my money. It’s not have done submissive work a normal thought process, myself so I’ve done sort of where I’ve worn a dog’s col- I’m quite aware of that. It is just something I suppose I lar and crawl round on my should work out with a therhands and knees barking apist but yeah, have tried, like a dog and eat out of a dog’s bowl and carry a bone but don’t like them, because they always say “how does around in my mouth. I can that make you feel?”, which do a great dog’s bark, woof makes me want to be paswoof, brilliant. That’s the sive aggressive and say best bark that they’d ever “how does that make you heard and I never even had dogs when I was growing up feel?” and erm I do have a therapist who knows so I don’t know where that that I have body dysmorcame from, I might’ve just phia, knows that I hate my broken the microphone. body, knows that I hate my, in general, if a friend comE: Do it again when I put it ments on my appearance I back here cos then it won’t hate it, and so he’ll always clip. make some comment on my appearance as soon as he L: My dog’s bark, take two. sees me, usually along the Woowowowoofoff. Woof. lines of that’s a nice handWoof. Yeah, the pay was bag. So last time I said “do very good for that job, it you want it?”, “what?” he basically involves wearing said, “do you want the handa collar that says ‘bimbo’ bag, you can have it, there round your neck, and it’s you go. You liked it, you actually a woman that runs said you liked it,” he said it. It tends to be the case “you’re playing mind games that when you do somewith me,” I said “well that’s thing really degrading it is impossible, you’re a psychiwomen that run the webatrist.” He said “well you’re site. And she has tapped being passive aggressive,” into a market there that’s a I said “no, I can’t possibly very clever one, but wasn’t be being passive aggresvery comfortable doing it I

sive, I’m offering you my handbag, you liked it so I presumed you might want it for your wife or something.” And then the next time he’d sort of moved on to saying “you look very pretty today.” Now that, for somebody with body dysmorphia, is going way over the line. So I said “that’s nice. Do you want me?” He said “what?” I said “what, do you want to have sex with me?” He said “no, I don’t really understand why you’re saying this.” I said “well I’m saying it because I have body dysmorphia and you’re deliberately making comments about my appearance. I wouldn’t have sex with you if you were the last man on earth. What I’m saying to you is never ever ever make a comment on my appearance again, because that, if somebody heard it, does not sound like a very nice discussion for a patient to be having with a psychiatrist.” Strangely he never mentioned my appearance after that. So I do find it applies to all areas of life and I found that I deal with men in much the same way, all areas. And that’s the corner shop, it’s the postman. I get really annoyed with him. He knocks on the door too loudly, I always tell him off.

Maria E: It’s recording again now. Actually I’d better turn the thing off, erm. Just so nobody rings me. That should be fine. Yeah I mean you can just put it on your knee or something, it’s a really good mic. But, we were talking about... You were telling me the story about the footballer. But there’s probably enough there. M: Yeah I think so. I don’t think it’s sorta relevant now y’know. E: OK, so, what I would like to know as well is kind of, what would you have to do in terms of like preparation before you do it? M: Ehh, would ye say before I left the house, or when I’m at the job? Both? Well preparation I would make sure everything’s OK durin the day. I would start gettin ready, I would say, if I was gettin picked up about seven o’clock I would start gettin ready for about like five, make sure me bag was all sorted, me music was all organised, eh what music I was goin to use, make sure I had me props sorted out wor I was gonna take for me shows, ehm... Make sure me toiletry bag was OK cos I used to like t’have everything clean and hygenic wipes and everythink y’know, if I was usin baby oil or creams or anythink. Make sure I had me bag o’marshmallows that I used to use, ehm, and then I would write down where I was goin, who I was workin with, how much the money was, how much commission at the end of it and then I would ring the person

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that was drivin us to make sure what time I was gettin picked up so I could be ready half hour before cos I’m like that, I like t’be on time, I like to be organised, which some of the girls I worked with weren’t cos when we used to go’n pick them up they was sittin outside for ages, they were runnin in and out, in an “oh I’ve forgetten this, I’ve forgetten that,” and I used to be sittin there “for god’s sake, just hurry up and get in this car so we can get t’the job.” And then ehm, you used t’go to the job and talk to the organiser who was organisin it and we used to ask em “How many spots? What time do you want wer on? Is there a interval between?” and then we used to talk amongst werselves who was goin on first. So, it was always me that got pushed on first and then after that we just used to sail through if it was a good job and we used to finish and then say about twelve or wharever, drop all the girls, other girls off, and I used to come back home but I was still full of adrenaline like, I was wantin to keep dancin, I was a bit hyper so it took us about half an hour to calm down so I used to make meself a hot chocolate or somethin, get me jarmies on and then go to bed so I can start the next day normal again ‘til I was workin on the nighttime. So that was the prep for me, haha. E: So you mention there that you had props? M: Yeah. Ehm, I had a whip, I had what the horse women use for the horses, I had that. Ehm, I had me marshmallows, I had me shavin foam, and I had me baby 155

oil, but I never used to use that a lot because it was a bit messy at times. So, and then, if I was usin me nurse I used to have me stethoscope round me neck, I had that, and I had me watch hangin out me little pocket, so I used to like dance, I used to go over to the guys and feel their pulse and look at me watch pretendin to think “Oh yes, you’re startin to panic cos I’ve come over with no clothes on,”say they were lookin, and they all used to laugh and it was a good show with all these props, but they don’t use them these days, don’t think they know what props are these days, so. E: I used to use props. I used to have them, I loved doing that kind of stuff, think I was just the last, literally when I first, strippers who were the last in costume. So what did you do with the marshmallows? M: Ehm, wey, what I used to do was, I used to bite them in half, I used to stick one half on me left boob, on me right boob, and I used to bite another one behalf, stick them on like cheeks o’ me bum, and I used to bite one but eat one half and stick the other half on me navel, and then I used to go to individual guys for them to bite them off, and they all used to be sittin goin “Me, me! Am I next? Me!” so I just used to go up to them and it was a laugh, it was really funny. To think I’ve got them guys and they’re puttin their hands up “me, me, me!”, it was so funny, it was, crazy. And I think back now that was crazy, stickin marshmallows on us like. But the guys loved it so, and they were daft enough to do

it so, why not? I was gettin paid for it at the end of it, so that was good. E: How do you think, how do you think your life is different now having had that experience? M: Ehm, well, it is a shock to me system because it’s hard to keep goin now knowin that I haven’t got that excitement to go out with a group of girls and work with them because some o’the strippers were like family. We all confided in eachother if we had problems, ehm, if you had a major one, one was always there for you or they used to say right, tomorrow we’re all meetin up and goin for a meal or goin for a drink or, “come to my house,” y’know and talk about it and now, because I’m one of the old strippers, we’ve all lost touch but there’s only I would say a handful of them now that I do keep in touch with, so I would say it is a bit of a shock to me system now because, ehm, you’re sorta isolated from normal people because with the normal people you can’t sit and tell stories and be very open, which ye’ve gotta be very careful, and the only problems there is they ask “Oh, were ya out lastnight?”, ye’ve got to hesitate first and think right, I’ve gotta be careful what I say here, can’t say I was out strippin, so I just used to make an excuse y’know. I was out with a friend, or went for a drink or somethin, which it did upset us cos I’m not a one for tellin fibs y’know but I had to do these things and it does make ya, what can I say? When you’re out there in that world it does make you cautious about

everythink because what I’ve seen, what I’ve heard, what I know about and I just stand and think, well, I know exactly what you’re about or what this is about, so it is a shock I would say, now to us. E: Just gonna check if that’s still recording fine. Yep, brilliant. So what would you, like, how would you feel about it as a job now in terms of, y’know, when you look back, what kind of a, what sort of a service do you think stripping provides? M: Erm, well that’s hard really because different people see it differently, but it’s up to that individual if they want to think about you as an object which you take yer clothes off. Some people get called nasty names and some people can say to ya “well I know where you’re comin from cos it’s a job and y’are doin it for the money to survive,” which is as I said before it’s easy money and it is survival, but to some girls I would say it’s money for other things. But some girls tret it as a business and saved the money, bought houses which, I went to Greece after I had packed the strippin in in England and I saved up and bought a house with me money which some girls I’ve seen when you go on drugs, just, they’ve just blown it and like as I say it’s just up to individuals what way they want to think about it but I know like at the time when I was doin it it was really like the in thing, and everybody just loved havin strippers at the shows because it’s the lads night out. Even I’ve been to shows where there’s been women and 156

they’ve sittin and enjoyin it as well, so, like as I say it’s a strange, it’s a strange getup and it is a strange entertainment business to be in. E: Do you think it’s...why do you think women strippers are more popular than male strippers? M: Erm, well at the time when I was doin it there was a lot of like men wantin the girls to go out because I think it was sorta like their ego to think “aww, I’m goin to see a stripper tonight, aww, takin all her clothes off and wow!”, and I think it was something in the guys that give them excitement to see a stripper. But I think nowadays it’s workin both ways because the way like I’ve seen all these young girls now, the way they go on with the male strippers which, it’s very very I would say seedy. Cos they wouldn’t think twice about like goin with them, which when I was workin with them, the girls used to just like squeal and laugh and think “ee, I’ve touched he’s body, ee, he’s doin this with he’s manhood” and everythink, but these days I think they wouldn’t think twice about havin sex with them, so like as I say it has changed a lot today to what it was years ago. So. E: I know when I worked, which was, when I was working for an agency it was 12, 10 years ago-ish, I know that some girls would, that was something they would do. Did you find that at the time you were stripping? M: Ehm, at first no. But like as I say when all this lapdancin started to come into it ehm I know of some girls

that did do it, and girls that would offer their services for five pound to go in the toilet with the guys at the shows, which I wouldn’t work with them type girls, I used to say to the agent because they stood out to me and I says right that’s it, I’m just workin with somma the girls that started more or less with me, I don’t want to work with them girls cos we will get tarred with the same brush that we were gonna do it. So, she was good that way, she never used to pur us with them type girls, which I had a few, few nights with a coupla girls that I found were totally digustin, there was a real horrible horrible girl and she was just totally disgusting, I wouldn’t work with her ever again. E: What did she do? M: Ehm, well, it was a pub in Newcastle, and o’course I had been doin a kissogram before I went into the show and I didn’t know I was workin with this girl and she was just sorta game for anything, so we went into it and she started doin an extra spot and she was on her period, and she started puttin a bottleneck inside of her and the blood was just all over and the guy went over and licked it all off and she just sat on his face and I just got all me clothes and ehm just walked out of the place, which I found it totally disgustin so I phoned the agent and the agent bein the agent she just give her a warnin and a tellin off which, if I’d been the agent I woulda sacked her, because if anything like that had been goin about all the time then we would get classed as the same type of person and we

wouldn’t get any work cos they would say oh if you’ll not do it you’re not workin, you’re not gettin paid and that was it so, but that was a disgustin horrible night which I had gone into. E: I can’t imagine that at all, it’s really really horrible. I’ve actually not heard of anything like that happening before. I remember there was a girl I used to work with, and she’s from Middlesbrough, and she would do a spot with a bottle and I used to think what has gone on with you, she was only like 16, what has gone on with you for you to do that? She was just mad, completely mad. She would just drink heavily all the time and she was just, I mean, and I used to think “what is this about?” Like there is something more going on with you than just making money. M: The do, the stand out, these girls stand out because ehm a couple of girls I started with, they start to turn the other way and I used to say “you don’t have to do things like that,” y’know, and they say “yes but you’re okay cos you’ve got a lovely figure and y’know, we’ve got-”, I says “you haven’t got to,” I says “you’re just degradin yourself y’know?” and cos the went to this big private house at Morpeth and I refused to go cos I knew what they guys were like cos they were a bit gangstery type guys, and big massive house in it’s own grounds and everythink and they had a big room with a big pool table in, well snooker table, and ehm I don’t want to mention her name like but she lay on the table with her legs open so the guys could pot 157

the balls inside of her, for extra money, and the guys used to really laugh their heads off thinkin they were so funny, and I just thought that was just total shockin. So there’s quite a lot to this business which opens your eyes as well. E: I’m shocked, haha. I don’t think I ever really saw anything like that but I know that when I was working for this women called Carol and I would hear the older women who worked for the agency going on we’re doing a blue show, and I’d go “what’s a blue show?” M: Well I know the person you’re talkin about, I know exactly who you’re talkin about because I met her ehm in a place called The Brunswick because the owner, when it first opened, I know her very well and her sister-in-law, I used to work with her in a factory years ago, so I used to just go and have a drink with her, so I met this Carol there and by just talkin to her and I knew she just wasn’t what she seemed to be, straight away I just got the vibe from her, and then I knew she had girls down Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool area, and when I saw where she was from and I thought I’ll say no more, and then I knew she was doin blue and all that because some o’ the girls that I had seen in Whitley Bay, cos I used to work in a club at Whitley Bay a lot called Rio’s, so I used to love it there like and so some of her girls used to work in different parts of the place and it was just stories that I used to get tolt about her, even she used to do the good shows at like ehm, there’s a place some-

where up beside Hexham, for the army lads I think it is, but when the good shows she always used to come in she pur ‘erself first, and another girl because at the end of the show they used to do blues. So she wasn’t really an agent I would say as like I know about agents, so I’d say she’s just like a normal stripper, group of girls which I’ve had groups of girls come to me and say can ye get us a job here, there, everywhere, because I dunno if I come over more businessy like to some o’ the girls to what the other girls did and I used to say no I’m not goin behind the agents back, but ehm when I did finish the strippin here I did take girls away with us cos I used to get like a percentage of the money off the Greek bosses over there, and one of them was Jackie. Took Jackie over and she made a fortune her like, she was fantastic, fantastic, and I took a few girls from Middlesbrough area and from up the North East, and so I was like a little bit of, I wouldn’t say an agent, I would call mesel a house mother to them, I was more house mother for them, and I dunno, I used to get on with like the strippers okay but I used to keep me distance from some o’ these that did like the naughty things, so, I think that’s why they used to say to us “Aw, I’m not workin with her cos she’s snobby” and all this, so I used to let it just go over me head, y’know? But I used to say to meself “I think I’ll write a book about this business,” just everything from 1993 to 2002, the things that I’d experienced is just, I don’t think anybody normal has done what I’ve done or seen or, I’ve been to

different countries workin, I’ve been to Belgium, been to Denmark erm, and all round Greece, island, mainland, everywhere dancin, which, when I went abroad I, I’m not like knockin strippin here but it was more professional abroad because I start to get taught in a professional way to wor it is in the North East, or I would say all over England, cos they work entirely different, the girls in England, which was very very interestin. So, and from workin abroad I’ve made quite a lor of foreign nationality girls as friends which I’m quite happy because I can just say, “is it OK if I come over?” “Aw yes, just get a flight,” it’s nice, so I’ve gor a lot of memories from Greece, buried, I would say a lot of memories which even to this day I would just say right, I’m goin back over, cos I loved it that much, and when people say “aw, but was it hard?” and “eh, what was it about?” I used to say well, it was hard, but if you were prepared to work okay, you can sail through no problem, but if you get, which I had brought, took two girls over with me and one of them couldn’t do all the hours, she couldn’t do the things which she was told to do and as I say well, you’re not really prepared are you, you’re just used to doin the strippin in England which was more easier to what it was abroad, which I found it, wey, I must be one of the stronger ones so I found it OK, but I would say I made more money abroad than wor I did in England. E: Yeah, I think I can relate to that because I worked, I stripped and then I worked to work in lapdancing clubs and my thing in lapdancing 158

clubs was I wouldn’t lapdance, I was like the queen of sitdowns. The sitdown queen. I’d go in and I’d just know straight away that that’s the guy to go and talk to, and I’d sit and it’d take me about five minutes and I’d get like four hour sitdowns. That was my thing. If I could help it I wouldn’t even take my clothes off. I think that’s what you were saying about being professional, I think that’s maybe why I wanted to do a documentary particularly about the stripping because I think it’s just such a different thing to lapdancing, I think there’s just something in the performance of it, you know? M: Eh well when I worked abroad, ehm, I used to work, I mean the first one I went to was a top class one in Thessalonigan and it was a very classy club I worked in and I felt like this, it was like puttin us amongst like these wolves sorta thing which I hadn’t experienced anything like that in me life but, if it hadn’t been for the foreign girls, eggin us on and tellin us exactly how to dance and that, ehm, I don’t think I woulda stayed, I would’ve come back home, and said it’s not for me. But I persevered, y’kna, and they did train us up great but ehm we had to eh do strippin, we had to do lapdancin, we had to do poledancin and we had to do consummation work all in one night, it was seven nights a week. Startin at eleven o’clock at night til sometimes about like I would say six in the mornin, and weekends eight o’clock in the mornin, and but like as I say if you were prepared to work, you made a

lot of money, but if you weren’t, if you were just prepared to do like the lapdancin, just do the strippin, well you wouldn’t make much money and then at the end of the day the boss would come over and say well you’re not for the club cos you had to work to make money for them aswell, which I was one of the lucky ones cos I learnt the language so I could sit and have conversations in Greek, so that was on my favour as well so I was OK. But like as I say, so I was doin not one job strippin, I was doin a variety of other jobs as well. Plus for me strippin I had to have me costumes, then when you were doin your consummation work you had to wear like an evenin dress, nice class of shoes, keep yoursel classy, so more or less changin constantly every night. It was hard work at first, ehm, but later on you just, you get used to it, and I found meself I was very supple, I was very fit and wey, now I’m not, haha. I cannot even do the splits anymore, I used to, but I think I could still do a little bit dancin like, y’know, when I have a drink. When I have a drink, out with the girls, we hear the music goin, y’know, haway, get up. Or if we go over Whitley Bay and there’s, goin to a pub where there’s a pole, get on the pole say “ye haven’t lost it have ye?”, say “no, I haven’t lost it,” so. But that was a good life abroad I would say. Got tret like a queen and had no hassle, got no aggro like you do in England, get shouted at sometimes here and say “oh, ya slappa, get ya tits out for the lads! come on, show us ya fanny!” and all this, you just think oh,

here we go again man, can I not just talk wi normal, y’know, and I used to think aw wey over your head, over your head, so I did, and then eh, like as I say ehm, just gets in your blood and it’s hard to get out ya blood, and even to this day I keep thinkin ee god, I wisht I had never stopped, wisht I had continued and started to be like a bit of an agent for some o’ the girls but, y’know, it’d have been too much hassle nowadays. Cos I did run a pub with a guy in Wallsend and I did have like a lorra girls workin for us over there, and it was a good pub, I had like dancers and strippers and it was really good and it was really good interviewin the girls cos some o’ the girls used to like stand out to us, which were good and which we thought aw they’re not gonna be as good but we’ll give them a chance and, they used to phone us up goin “Gail will ye pur us on there at the weekend, I love bein up there dancin” and I used to say “well I’ll have to see who like I can not pur in and put you in,” and, but eh, I remember there was a halloween night, we had ten strippers on and it was buzzin, the place was buzzin, it was a great night like, really great, and ehm, that’s when I gor approached to go work in Greece by a coupla girls that’d been workin in Holland, and the came back over and said “oh we’re goin to Greece, do you fancy comin over?” and I went “Greece?” I went “I cannot dance with them girls over there, they’re too classy and professional,” and the girls used to say “don’t be stupid, don’t put yersel down man, come on, get yerself over,” 159

and I thought, “yeah I think I’ll give it a try,” so, like as I say I did, so I done three months, and I came back home and approached some o’ the girls in the place where I live cos there’s a pub called The Brunny and I approached a couple o’ the girls and they came over with us, but one o’ the girls didn’t even come back, she’s still out there, haha. So, like as I say, it has been an enjoyable life for us I would say, pretty enjoyable. What can I say? I’ve seen life, I’ve worked with people from all different walks of life, I’ve been educated by some of the top class business people who I’ve come in contact with and I’ve juse seen exactly how the all work, so when you see people you think oh yes, I know what your other life’s about, cos I’ve even bumped into people when I’ve been to the Metro Centre as well, and I’ve sorta went “oh!” and they’ve walked away quickly from us, thinkin yes, I know what you were up to lastnight, exactly, I know, and you’re out with keen happy families today are you? Yes. But like as I say it’s been enjoyable, that’s all I can say about it, and I’ve had a good, excitin life, but like as I say nowadays it’s just ehm, it’s hard to get back into like normal society again, knowin that you’re not gonna be stippin anymore and you just haven’t got that sorta buzz off anybody anymore, you come in, shut the door, you’re on your own, or if you pick the phone up to talk to some o’ the girls then you have a bit chat and then you go round and see them but it’s just not the same anymore, so that’s what I miss. I do, I miss the

girls, I miss I would say the chat with them, the laughs we used to have and I even miss some of the people that own the pubs because they became very good friends of ours, y’know. I mean I’m still in contact with a couple o’ them, like Graham from Rio’s, I’m still in contact wi Graham and Michael, I’m still in contact wi him, ehm, I’m still in contact with Sasha, Geraldine, ehm, Debbie, Dawn, I normally talk to her on the computer, but she’s a nurse now. From bein a stripper to a nurse. I said “oh well, you had yer costume,” she says “aye.” Ehm, everybody you talk to, they all say they miss like the chat off the girls, they miss the laugh, they miss the company, y’know, it’s all the same, what we all say, because it was a buzz when yes were all together, I mean you kissed and cuddlin eachother and take care if you’ve got a problem and everythink and you felt really like ehm, like I say, that they are your family and that’s how ye miss eachother and I mean like even Kath, I mean she’s, she says the same cos she keeps in contact with us and she either gets depressed and I say yes I know, I says because it’s what’s happened to we, it’s the life that we’ve ehm exeperienced. I says and that’s how it gets you because you can’t like, if I went to go somewhere and like normal, like go for a normal job y’know you’re sittin you think well how do I go on, what do I say? Even I’ve had a few normal jobs which I’ve felt out of place, I can’t communicate with the people I worked with, so I just sit there quiet because the things they talk about I

does, it kind of takes you back upstairs into like the cannot talk, because I’ve into a different world, like an bar part, and I got me eye never experienced what underworld. on the pole so I start doin a they experienced y’know, bit of pole dancin. He says and it was hard but like as I M: There was another time say you’ve just got to try and “I’ve brought ye here to pole survive and just live another dance,” I says “aww, shut up as well, this is when I was workin for Suzanne, and she life from where you’ve come man,” I says, “I just wanna didn’t tell us where I was from which, I mean, wey, I’m have a bit of a pole dance y’know,” and then Geraldine goin, she said ehm, she said tryin to do every day as it started and so well see man, Maria, she says ehm, you’re comes, but like as I say I at, oh god, ee my memomean ehm, like Geraldine, if when we’re all out together, ry’s gettin terrible, eh, the you just let yerself go and we go out we normally go place where the place came start enjoyin yourself no out with a couple o’ the down up Scotland...Lockmatter where you are, and drivers that’s became very erbie, Lockerbie. She said close friends of ours as well, then by doin that, Bob “you’re workin at Lockerbie, and we normally go out with phoned us the next day, he says, ehm, “well there was a ehm, tonight,” I went “Am I? them because one o’ the What am I doin?” She says couple of guys had been drivers is, is like a manage“I dunno, they just want a watchin yes, and they said ment of a fetish club at girl up there, you’ve got to Stockton, and, not Stockton you were good on the pole, do two spots. I says “how can yes not come back to sorry, Stanley, and we met much like?” She says “Well, the club and do some up one night and there was hundred and twenty pound more?” I went, “where were me, Geraldine, Debbie and for two spots.” I went “Wey,” thems sittin like?”, he says eh Geraldine’s sister Maria, she says, “and what extras and ehm there was another “oh they were right at the stripper with we, ex-stripper, back of the room, yes didn’t you want,” and I says “right, OK,” so eh, I thought right, I’ve forgetten her name, but, see them,” I went “oh my I’m not drivin up on me own, god.” He says “aww, y’see, it was Vicky. Not the Vicky cos it’s a long way, I says ye haven’t lost it man, have you know, other Vicky, and “can I have a driver?” She ye?” I says “I know,” I says, ehm we went to the fetish says “I’ll ask Dave for ye,” I “see, just ger a pole in, I’m club and by god, it was an says “Right.” Davie Gilchrist, straight up there y’know.” eye opener cos I hadn’t But ehm, we do, we go to all I mean, if you ever like have been to one before and we these places where anybody time, he can tell you everywent in and, cos we had to normal wouldn’t go, we have thing about strippin. sign in, become members we’re nights out yknow, and and everything which we E: I was gonna ask you actuthat’s what I enjoy as well don’t use, y’now, and ehm ally, because I have somewhen we go out together Bob showed we around, thing I want to do for this like that now and again. So. took we around the place piece of work. What I really and we went upstairs, want is to find a driver who E: It’s funny. Just check if opened the door and there has a car and is willing to be it’s still...doing it...yes. What was this girl havin sex with about I would say eight guys you said because, you know interviewed and would drive me around. on this bed and moanin and I’ve noticed that as well, groanin, I says “get out now, because I’ve noticed that M: Dave will, Dave. shut the door, shut the door! I have an openness about Right, I’ve seen enough, I’ve these things, you know it E: And then to just take me wouldn’t bother me if like, it seen enough,” y’know, well wouldn’t shock me massive- around and tell me, y’know, he says “well, I thought I’d ly, I mean it would shock me stories about all the places show you all round,” and he and all that kind of stuff I took we downstairs into like a bit but you know, doing mean. that experience, going to this dungeon where they had all the fetish equipment a fetish club or something M: Well Dave is the one like that I would be, you and like these stocks and but at the moment he’s in know, it wouldn’t be a huge like a dentist’s chair and all Bangkok cos he went out, deal to me whereas if I said these handcuffs and when did he go? I think it that like to my boyfriend everything, I was goin “ew was November. No it wasn’t. he’d be like, you know, it my God,” and so we went 160

I think it was the beginnin of December. Cos he’s comin back the 25th, cos he’s done like another bit of a website for heself, it’s called Dave Gilchrist Walkabout, cos he’s been all around Viet’nam, Bangkok, you know all them places, but he’s due back the 25th cos we’re gonna meet up for a curry at the cinema, cos me and him are very very close. Out o’ everybody we’ve been very close all these years cos he can tell you about when I first start strippin because he was the one that was there y’know, cos he had somethin to do with it as well like cos he always used to say “aww haway man, get yersel strippin man, come on,” and all this, y’know. But like as I say, so gettin back to what I was saying, so I thought well I’ll get a driver but it wasn’t Davie, it was another driver, so we went up to Lockerbie, so it went into this drive, it was a big massive drive and we’re just in this big massive house, like a big mansion and I thought “oh my God, where am I goin to?” y’know, so the driver looked at me and I looked at him. He says “well, we’re here, you’ve been asked for.” I says “Yes, OK.” So gets out and knocks on the door. So the big door opened and this guy went “oh hello, you are Maria?” I went “yes.” He went “oh, just follow me.” I went “right.” I says “what’s it about?” He went “Aw, you’ll have to see the guy who’s organisin it,” I says “right, OK.” So I was lookin all over and I’m thinkin my God, who on earth owns this big massive house, and they want a stripper here? So I walked in, so they took us through these rooms and then I went into a room 161

“that’s why I just say to her at the back and he says where’s the job and that’s “right we’ve, like, organit.” He says “well, it’s for a ised a bit of a like dresgroup of mature people and sin room for you like best they’re all swingers.” I went we can.” I says “yeah, no “What?! They’re what?!” I problem.” I says “God I’ve stood and I went “they’re been changed in a bit cupboard before,” I says, “let us all swingers?!” And I stood and the driver looked at me, smell your toilet before,” I he just burst out laughin, I says, “God it’s a mansion went “what you laughin at?!”, compared to where I’ve I says “well whar’ave I got been dressed” y’know? So to do with people like this?” ehm, I can even see it. I sat He says “well the reason the down, took me things off want you here is for you to and I says “oh, can I have do two spots so you can get a drink?” cos it was alright when I was gettin the driver, them warmed up for later on tonight.” I went “well, peoI could have a drink y’know. So he says “what would you ple...” They said “No, they asked for a stripper, it had like?” I says “oh you’ve got to be a female stripper,” I wine?”, “ah-hah, yeah, you went “Oh my God, don’t can have some wine,” so the driver says “I’ll have that believe this!” So I thought right, think about what they like.” So I was sittin, and then I just happened to turn would like, swingers, so I thought right, French maid me head at the side and I outfit, they’d like to see us seen like this eh, this sort in that, yes, so I’ll have that, of bed what they used for and a naughty nurse, so people that goes and has I says “right, I’m glad I’ve massages and everything, brought them clothes with and then these like screens us.” So I says “right, I’ll wear what they had in hospitals years ago and I think what’s them.” So this guy came over towards us with a docgoin on here? So this guy tor’s like eh overall on, with came through and he says he’s stethoscope and that, I “oh hello, I’m like so-andsays “what you doin here?” so, are you Maria?” and I says “yes, ah-hah, yes.” So I He says “well tell you the truth,” he says, “I’ve been want two spots and have an sent here to massage them,” extra spot and I says “right, he says, “and I’m only a OK.” I says “what’s this all mechanic by the day,” he about?” I says, cos I don’t says, so he thought well know what’s goin on. “Me why not? It’s some money. agent hasn’t said.” “They’ve I’ll just pretend I’m a masnever said to you what’s it sage. I went “oh my God! about?” I went “No,” I says I don’t believe this like.” I “All she said that you’re went “God” I says “it’s getLockerbie, two spots fifty, tin funny here, it’s goin on eh, hundred and twenty, this like.” that’s it.” “Ee, well, we tolt her.” I says “oh well, say no So they said “right, ha ye more, because I know what she’s about.” I says “you can got music?”, I went “Yes,” I says “Now I must have tell her one thing and she just forgets about it,” I says, this music,” cos the music “I know, cos I’ve got to do all I had, I was, used to bring from abroad because my me research meself when music was entirely differI’m goin to places,” I says,

it would be fantastic,” and she’s kissin me boobs and ent from everybody else’s, she’s tryin to, and I’m thinkin I’m goin “ee well sorry, but I cos it always gor us into cannot because I have comwoah-oh! So I went up to me act y’know, so ehm, the mitments, I work abroad and the chair and I start puttin started with me music and I have to fly off, sorry!” and I as I walked in I just stood an the oil down us and then thought oh my God, I don’t I’m like workin on the chair all these like leather sofas, believe this. And after that the way I got taught off Ann big lounge, like, these beds they were just comin in with Robinson y’know, how to and I’m thinkin what’s goin their cards, their names, and work your chair? So I start on here, and everybody’s I’m thinkin God, what have lyin naked, absolutely naked, doin, start wavin me stockins, doin this with them, and I done? And this woman’s so I’m sayin “oh my God,” then ping over me head and sayin “ee, you were excelso I just went “music!” and that, y’know? And then ehm lent strippin, ee, you were then I just start dancin and fantastic,” y’know and all I just got me cream out and goin round and as I was this and I went “well it’s thought well I’m goin for it goin round, the guys were just the year’s experience stretchin over and feelin me here, so I just went up to I’ve acquired over the years them, squirted the cream legs and the women were y’know,” and then ehm they on them and rubbed it all feelin me arse and everysaid “would you do an extra over, and then as I come thing, and I think my God spot?” Uh-uh, uh-uh, extra to this other group, one of no don’t, and it was a bit spot. What’s this goin into like that programme y’know the guys got a hold of us y’know? So eh I thought, and chucked us over on the where you see all these well it’s extra money, I’ve bed and I thought woah! So hands comin out tryin to come all this way, I’ve got I’m just lyin there and he’s get ye, and I was thinkin the driver to pay and how like lickin us all over and oh my God, just keep goin, much’s he gonna charge for think of the music, just keep I thinkin ee my God, what for Lockerbie y’know, he’ll you doin Maria, just what goin, wey so I’m just dancin charge us about fifty pound you doin? Is this normal? about. So, it finished then I or something, y’know? And You should be in a normal went through and I’m goin I was thinkin if I do an extra job to meself, y’know. And I “I don’t believe this! What’s spot that’ll be for the driver. think no, right, that’s it. So I goin on?” I’m sayin “I don’t So I thought right, OK, I’ll just sorta moved away from think I can continue!”, and I them. And then I went “cut”, do an extra spot. So they was laughin but I was a bit said “ehm, well what, like, cos I used to do that for me angry because the agent costumes’ve you got?” and music to be cut, and then I hadn’t prepared us y’know. I thought well, I’ve got me just bow, and they’re clapSo the driver says “well leather gear, and I’m gonna pin, “bravo, bravo!” and all Maria you’re here, just fintake me whip out this time, this, “yeah!” y’know, and ish it man, just go for it.” I cos I’ll whip them if they I went “gotta get out this went “right, OK.” But the come near us this time! So joint! I can’t take this anysecond spot, oh my God, I I put me leather on, and more, I’ve got men and was, what happened like, I got me whip out and I went women, they’re comin ar’us went into it with me naughout and I just danced to y’know?” And then eh, as ty nurse outfit on, so I’m me rock music cos I like I was gettin like rubbed dancin for it this time cos dancin to the rock music down cos I was just takin I’ve had a drink, I went up as well, I love rock music, to them with me boobs, and me things to rub us down and ehm, I started and then y’know, just washin meself, the women are coverin and ehm I went up to a guy and and one of the men came fondlin us, kissin me booI thought right, I’m gonna in and he went “Maria, ehm, bs, and the guys are like would you like my card, ehm, make a mug out of you, so playin with their sels, and I put him on the chair, so I I’m thinkin you normally see me and my eh wife would tied he’s hands behind his like you to come down to, things like this on the telly, back and he’s legs and then let’s say, Hertfordshire and on the telly about someI had a red ribbon, and I tied stay the weekend with us think, not real life y’know? a big bow in he’s man parts, because we think you were So I’m goin round and then it was a bow! And then I this woman’s comin up to us absolutely fantastic. We tryin to kiss us, so I’m turnin could have a good weekend turned him round and I bent him over and with me shavin together, threesome. Oh, me head like that, and then 162

M: Aww, there’s plenty more funny,” he says. I says “you foam I used to make a face could I tell ya, plenty more. haven’t seen it all man!” I at the entrance of he’s botThings that we’ve gone says “when I work with tom, I used to make the through and that. And I some o’ the lasses” I says shape of a manhood comin mean Sasha, the big “they bring eggs! Even over and I used to put a black...I wish, I might try and smash eggs all over them cherry up the top of it, and man, rub them all in! Til they get in touch with her then I gorra woman, and I because she can tell you get the white froth comin says “right,” I says, “I want some stories, and Tammy, you to lick that off, now! Else up and they really rub it she was another one. I’d in til all the white froth’s I’m gonna whip you hard if comin up!” I says “It’s hilari- been working wi her for a you don’t.” “Yes mistress, long time and never ever ous!” I says “Then we just yes mistress, I do what you had an argument right, cos I leave them, sayright, go want mistress! Yes!”, I’m never used to argue with and get yeself cleaned up!” sayin ee, they’re gettin into the girls, and the worst the show here, it’s excellent He says “But where?” I night we went to Peterlee, at this I love it, y’know, I love it. says “Well you’re not comin a pub in the town centre, in the dressin room wi us, And crawled on her hands and there was me, Tammy, just go wherever you want and knees and lickin it like ehm, there was Simone, y’know?” I says, “but that’s that, the cherry off, like ehm and there was ehm, I what it’s all about,” so. But that, and I just happened to think another two girls, but glance at the driver and he’s I got onto Suzanne the next there was like one from day, I says “why didn’t you like hysterics, like this, hysterics! And I go, “what’ll they tell us?” She says “well if I’d Peterlee, a stripper y’know, and Tammy, she used to told you you might’ve went, do? They’re doin what I’m y’know.” I says “well I wasn’t have a habit of havin a drink, tellin them to do, y’know? goin out, talkin to the lads goin to,” because when I Like little children do what for ages, then you’re having was goin I says “well why I say!” And then she licked to shout ar ‘er to get her to have I come here?” I was it and then I turned around come in and get ready to do tempted to turn round. She I says “right, I says right, I want you to loosen that bow says “ee, I’m glad you didn’t ‘er spot, and ehm she came in to get ready and then she now.” So I was sayin, and with your teeth, and if you went out which I now think I she went “ee, really?” she don’t do it properly you’ve shoulda went on first before says “ee my God,” she says got his arse to whip hard,” her because I had to follow “yes mistress I will, I’ll make “how thick and stupid are the?” I says “yes.” But some what she done, y’know? And sure it’s off mistress!” So o’ them, I got tolt afterwards ehm I couldn’t believe it, I she done it, so it came off looked out of the door and right, were lawyers, they y’know and then the music she’s lyin on the floor and were financial people there finished and that was it, so she’s lettin these lads just right, and ehm there was they didn’t touch us, it was put all bottlenecks up her, people like off the jury and just like playful for them, so and she’s lyin there just everybody was like lookin at stuff that goes to court. I it y’know. And I went to Jess went “ee my God,” I goes, “it goin “uhh, uhh!” and I’m just goes to show what they thinkin what on earth is she and I went “eee!” and I just doin?! She doesn’t do things do behind these profescreased meself laughin, I sions that they do,” y’know? like that. And then when she thought my God, what peoSo like as I says so, I’ve just finished she come in and I ple do when you tell them don’t know I just snapped, I what to do y’know. I thought seen life, haha. Life that has been strange. Weird life, went for ‘er. I just really went this is why I do love this for ‘er and the girls had to y’know, so. So I don’t think job in a way because I’ve drag us off ‘er, and I was anything can sorta like, like got the upper hand, in me shows, I love it, y’know? And I say embarass us, shock us callin her all sorts and I or anything like that, so. But, thought afterwards, after I the driver says “Haway! Let had done it, and calmed what can I say? That’s life, we get ready, let we get out down, I thought ee, she’s hahaha. of this stupid joint!” I says been a good friend to me all “Haway!” these years, we’ve never E: That’s such a good story. had an argument and just Shall IAnd then I cannot even, “ee something like that, that Maria,” he says, “you’re so 163

sparked us off, y’know? And I think the top and bottom of that show was, because the lads were like animals, they were just wantin like dirty horrible strippers that would do anything for them y’know, and like as I say I’m not a snob, anything like that, but I kept a level in the strippin business y’know? And I thought nah, that is like bringin the strippers down to a horrible low level doin things like that now. They were sayin wey, she didn’t really have anything goin for and she just thought well I’ll do that, get more attention, and then the next day Suzanne got on the phone, tolt us off for shouting ar ‘er and all this and all that, and then I thought well if this what this business’s startin to turn into, what more is gonna happen? Even when I’m not at the shows, what more are they gonna do? Cos there has been a few shows where I’ve been to and they said well, “for the extra spot, do you do this? And do you do that? And do you do this?” and I said no, I says “who’ve you had here workin before for you?” Straight away clicked, they’ve had a few girls that’s done them for them. And I says “no, I’m not like that.” And they says “well OK then, just do what you do and that’s it.” So I used to start doin, me and another girl called Rio, we just used to do were spots, try to ger on first, and then after the interval first again, get changed, get we money and just do off, and then whatever they do they do, and that was it, so we weren’t classed as like them. Cos I’ve found some places we used to work at, they used to ask for me and Rio, and ehm we used to go to 164

like the Gosforth Park Hotel, do but y’know, if you and whoever’d do a do with you. or some nice classy places, I went “oh aye, OK,” but I y’know? Or like places like don’t know, somink was sometimes over the Lake tellin us ‘don’t go downDistrict where it’s like a stairs on your own,’ y’know, round table do and they while everybody was were havin a meal and then we used to have a meal with upstairs. So I thought well, them and we used to do our oh, they’re the bouncers, show later on, y’know? But I y’know, I mean, they own found if they found out we’d the show, so I went downstairs and the guy shut the start doin things like that door, the bouncer, tryin to we’d sorta like lower get it on with us, and pinned weselves right to the bottom and then God knows us down on the floor. A what type of guys would ask bouncer to me, y’know, so I had to be subtle with them, I for wer, and what would happen to us, y’know? Cos I had to talk to them and go “haway man, it’s not worth it,” always remember the first and all this, y’know like “oh time I had to start strippin, I I’ve got a boyfriend” y’know think was gettin into about and all this, and all this, but seven or eight months of nobody you know and all the strippin business, I had this, I say “haway man, stop to go to a place at Bedlington, and there was me and a it man,” y’know? But he black girl, ehm, this girl was starts to get more rough and he’s pinnin us down from Washington, well I had more. I says “right, I’m to like train her in, because gonna give you up to three that’s one thing I didn’t like about Suzanne. She used to and if ye don’t get off us I’m gonna squeal and I’m gonna say “oh well, go to Rockies, tell everybody when I go or go to Rios, and either upstairs and I’m gonna Maria’ll teach ye or phone the police, right? So Melanie’ll teach ye or you’ve got an ultimatum, you Sasha’ll teach ye,” y’know? And I’m thinkin that’s wrong, either ger off us or I do that.” And he just looked and cos if she’s the agent that hesitated and thought well shouldn’t work that way. police, bouncer, y’know. He Cos we’ve got different ways of workin, y’know? And just grabbed us and yanked us up, he went “oh fuck off I’m thinkin she should be you slut, nothing but a taught by Suzanne, not by slappa man. You’re all the us y’know, cos she’s the same, the lot a yes, you’re agent y’know, so I thought all slappas.” “Whatever, well, OK. And ehm it was a whatever.” And I went place at Bedlington and upstairs and I was shakin, ehm I dunno what made us really shakin, so, see, I do this, but it was out of shouldn’t’a done that, but as character. We were upstairs I say it was out o’ character, and I thought ehm, oh I’ll I thought bouncers, they’re just have a bit of a drink all there y’know and all that, y’know. So when the bouncers called us over and everything’s OK, and I thought well they’re all the I went over, and just talkin, same, they’re all the same he went ehm, well one of no matter who they are, they me mates wants to talk to just think cos you’re a ye downstairs because they’re thinkin about havin a stripper, aww you’re, should

same, so. So like as I says come round to my way you so, after that I just start bein know and all that. So ehm, I more I would say sensible, was shakin like, it was a bit and tellin people where I’m of a shock y’know, eight goin or what I’m doin or if I months into the business nip out for a while, so. like, I was absolutely petrified. So I just had to But I think the worst is if calm meself down, be you’re on your own, you’re professional and say right, drivin yourself to jobs, it’s not long now you’ll be that’s like the worst part outta this place, just do yer spot and get out, but by that of it y’know, cos you’ve got it made us more aggressive, nobody there to back you and I was just goin up to the up, to protect ye, all you’ve got is your phone and the guys and yankin them and rubbin them with everything phone number of the agent, that’s it. Well who’s gonna just knockin them back, get you in that time? I mean kickin them and that with I’ve drove meself to I would me big spiky heel y’know say places in Rothbury, I’ve and that, and ehm I gets in drove meself to places outthe driver’s car and I says side of Darlington in the “get me home now, quick!” middle of nowhere and I’ve “Why?” I says “just ger us gone on me own y’know? home now quick!” He says And now when I look back I “what’s happened Maria? think my God I’ve been one What’s happened?” and I lucky girl, y’know? So, but tolt him, he says “well why eh, I’ve had some nice placdidn’t ye say?” I says “I es where me and the girls didn’t want to say anythink have went and had a meal in the place cos I didn’t with them and they’ve tret know what type of like people I’m gonna be workin, we nice y’know, keep comin playin with if I call the police like into the room and say “well if you want anything or anything.” Bouncers, y’know, you don’t know who just tell we. Do you want any more drink, do you want they know, cos they know any more this, do you want quite rough people from any more food? What way Newcastle n’all that, I says “no.” He says “well next time do you want the room done don’t ever do that, just come out? Is the tables alright?” y’know? And they were the over and tell us where jobs which I did like. I loved you’re goin,” I says “right,” I says “I know,” I says “it’s me them jobs y’know. But ehm, some of the regular jobs own fault”, so. Didn’t do it I didn’t like cos they were again like. Didn’t do that horrible, they were animals, again, that was it. And ehm, and nasty. Like Redcar, eveI think that made us more ry Thursday night we used stronger in a way with to have like a male stripper people, and even then I think no matter what type of and two strippers, female stripper, and it was a nightpeople you are, men-wise, club in Redcar on the South, they’re all the same. They like on the foreshore. You see tits, they see a pussy, know where I mean? And I they see a naked figure and remember workin with Jackall this thinkin oh aye, ie and Tammy and this male wouldn’t mind to like screw stripper but first we had to her and all this, no matter who they are. They’re all the go to wine club, a wine bar 165

in Middlesbrough first and then we had to go down to Redcar and no matter what Jackie always used to end up fightin with the lasses. She was always fightin with the girls. And I used to say “Jackie ignore them man.” And I used to think nah, she’ll not be able to ignore them cos she used to, be the one that smokes and that y’know, then her drink, then she’s a kick off. And I used to think aww, we’re gonna have a good night with Jackie like and she used to kick off with the lasses. Once I had to pull her off, take her upstairs, calm her down and I’m thinkin oh God, joys of bein a stripper, here we go again, another story for the book, I used to say y’know? Aww, it was hilarious. And then I remember a time I used to work in a rugby club with Sasha, she’s a big tall black girl. I love her to bits mind, I really love her to bits, but she used to do a lot of bodybuildin, y’know, and, but she was a good stripper, so used to be me, her, Simone, Ricki and Joanne. Well Joanne’s like a holiday this...she’s got a bike and everything, she’s one of them y’know. And you wouldn’t think it like cos when she starts strippin she had like her feather fans and everything, she was dead womanly y’know, and then you get on your Harley and do off home y’know. And eh we’re workin ar a place in Consett and it was a rugby club and it was for the rugby lads, but I always used to go into a place first, talk to them first so I can get them, y’know, instead of like avoidin them and goin straight into the dressin room and not commu-

body runnin about trying to cos she was excellent wornicatin, because then after get out y’know? So we all that you used to start saying kin, cos she used to dance gets away, ee we were panto AC/DC, she’s right getooh, what’s the marra with icking. Sasha - “next time tin into it, and them ehm I that snotty bitch, why’s she I’m gonna get Geordie on to don’t know, she just went not joinin we for a drink and him! I’m gonna make sure that y’know? So I was talkin up to this guy and then he he’s fuckin dead! I’m gonna went somink in her ear and away to them, no problem, get hes knees shot and evethen she got up, and as she and Sasha was, no probrything! Nobody calls me a got up she walked but she lem. Simone was. We were nigger.” Ee, well that was it. stopped. So we all looked all havin a good laugh with I says “Sasha, I love you to at eachother and we went them y’know, great, and bits but I’m not workin with oooh! She’s gonna kick off the guy came over, “right, here because we knew how you anymore, cos I cannot I want you on at say eight she worked. Eee, she turned be puttin up with this keep o’clock, you quarter past runnin out of jobs.” I says, “I round and she just give him eight, you half eight,” you one...fist...right in the mouth. know it’s exciting,” I says, know like that, we’re like “but it’s takin it’s toll on me!” Kneed him, gor ‘old of him, “okay, no problem, we’ll I says “I’m only little!” I says nutted him, tables went up do it.” “Extra spots?” “Yes, “I cannot cope with this like in the air, everything, eee. there’ll be extra spots at y’know!” She says “I know, Thought what’s happened, the end of it, no problem.” I’m sorry, I love yes all,” and what’s happened, he’s said But what we used to do, we she’s kissin, “I love yes all I something to her, and we never used to say “well I’ll know, but nobody...” I says “I didn’t know what. Driver do it,” we used to put we’re know, they shouldn’t ‘a done said “right, youse lassname in a hat and whothat, y’know, I know.” es, get in the dressin room, ever two names came out, clothes straight away fast, them girls done it, so that And then the next one, was in ya bags, exit door, out, was our motive, every time a classic one this one. She into the car, I’ll deal with with jobs, like with all stripwas drinkin in South Shields her, now!” “No, no, I’m not pers, so there was no bickar a pub which is not a pub leavin her, not leavin her,” I erin, no fightin, no nothing. anymore it’s a coffee shop We put we’re names in a hat says. “Get out now! The lot called The City of Durham. o’ yes, ger in the car now!” and we always made that So, cos I didn’t work in So we’re all runnin, we’re the rule y’know. So, whatySouth Shields wi bein from like this, we’re like this. The oucall, Sasha was getguy’s goin “here’s your mon- South Shields, I wouldn’t tin like loads of vodka and work in South Shields so ey, here’s your money!” So orange down ‘er, Simone like this, puttin we’re money ehm there was her again, her brandy, and then I’m there was Ricki, Simone and in we’re wallets and that, thinkin, oh I hope she’s not another girl, so it was a priwe’re rushin y’know, getgonna kick off the night vate do, had the windows tin Sasha’s clothes. Next like cos she was good to all blanked out y’know, so thing we know, she come work with cos she was like nobody could see what’s out in like half naked, “I’m yer minder as well y’know, goin on. So they’re workin gonna fuckin kill him! I’m and at the end o’ the night gonna really make it!” I says and ehm, and then the next she says “right, I’m goin on thing right I gets a phonelast,” I says “right, OK.” Well “Sasha calm down! What’s call the next day sayin “eee, he said, what’s he said?” by this time they were all “He called us a black nigger. you’ll never guess what haptanked up, everybody full pened lastnight, that do with Well I don’t like that word o’ drink, so after we shows Sasha!” I says “oh, she’s nigger. If he’d said anything we like got dressed, we were sat cos, strippers used else but nigger, nobody calls kicked off again has she?” “No, she just smashed the me a nigger, ee.” That was to always have their own it. Ee, I was shakin because, place up. She jumped over table, no matter where we the bar, she got a hold of rugby guys, they were maswere we always had we’re the landlady” - because sive y’know? The place was own table you know away the landlady knew who she in uproar, upscuttled, the from everybody? So we lot! And poor Davey and this was, she was Geordie Elliwere sat, we were watchot’s ex-wife, and she starts other guy Jim, ee, honestly in Sasha because I used slaggin her off terrible, so it was like that film, everyto like watchin her work 166

Sasha just jumps over the bar, gets a hold of her and “aw, that’s not on!” So Geordie goes down the next mornin with tins of gloss paint and put it through all the windows, the whole lot. I went “aww my God,” I went, “Sasha again?” I went “this is another for the book!” I says “Eee,” I says “I don’t believe this is happenin like”, y’know? I says “that’s it,” I says “I’m not workin with Sasha any more like, no more.” But y’see, the type o’ person she is, the drink, she was on drugs, everything is to ger’er, somebody says something, it kicks off and that’s it. And plus she’s Suzanne’s very good friend so, goin to Suzanne’s house everybody all whatever they’re doin, that’s why I never used to go and I’m thinkin well, that’s what it’s all about y’know. But she was a damn good stripper. Fantastic stripper y’know. But that was her only downfall, she couldn’t calm hersel down if anybody said anything y’know, which I think in a way it is lik not right sayin somethin like that to her, y’know, especially when she’s at work and OK y’know, if she’s a black girl I know, but not to say stuff like that so. And, but I used to like workin with her cos she used to be my minder, y’know. Anything happens to you tonight you come tell me and I’ll sort them out for yes. I used to say “yes, I know you will Sasha, that’s why I love workin wi ye.” She went “yes,” and, but she’s dead lovin, y’know, really lovin girl, and her normal job, would you like to know what she does now? You’ll ger a shock. She’s a cleaner for ASDA at Washington. I call her The Scrubber, hahaha. She’s a cleaner. She cleans 167

the shop. And Tammy, she cleans all the travel agent shops as well, she’s a cleaner. But y’see that’s what happens after a life bein a stripper, y’know? You either like go for these sort of type jobs, make a little bit money or do somink else y’know? E: What do you do now? M: Right, well, I’m not workin at the moment because ehm I’ve had like a few like personal problems y’know but I do more caterin, so I’ve worked in The Black Bull as a waitress, I worked in a golf club in Kitchen doin cookin, bein a waitress, bein a barmaid which I thoroughly enjoyed, y’know, really enjoyed. And I’ve worked in like little cafes, but the golf club was me last job and that was last year, but ehm I’m like I’ve, I’ve got a partner y’know but he lives over Blyth and we’re thinkin about movin down to Somerset so E: That’s my favourite part of England M: I can start, like, a new life off down there before I get too old, haha. So, that is me goal now, to do that so I can always sit back and think well there is life after strippin, but the life strippin was a life for me. E: That’s so brilliant, thankyou so much. M: You’re welcome.

Simone E: OK recording interview with Simone number one. OK, so if you want to introduce yourself. S: Hello, my name is Simone and I started dancing, stripping, when I was, in 1998, and erm the kind of places that you would work would be kind of workman clubs. I remember particularly working at The Ferry Tavern in South Shields with good friends. My memories of that time would be of, kind of, I dunno, fun, serious about having fun. I didn’t really think too much about it because I was quite young at the time and I would make my money, pay the bills and I was just the same person, well different person from, so basically you would show a different facet to your personality I suppose. And I remember we used to have regular jobs at The Ferry Tavern and we were kind of the regular girls. The Ferry Tavern and another place in South Shields, and then eventually when they needed kind of new faces, I remember you would kind of go further afield and work for different, different agencies. That then was still good, was still the same, just a different place and we’d go to places like Carlyle. I remember one particular time when we were working in The Ferry Tavern, there were some girls that came from Middlesbrough and it just seemed to kind of change the atmosphere a little bit. Not because they were from Middlesbrough but just because they, I think it’s kind of your territory and that would kind of be the same for everybody, 168

doesn’t matter what kind of job you’re working in, it’s just new faces I think kind of stirs up the atmosphere. So they would come down, even to The Ferry Tavern and the other local place in South Shields, they would work, you would give them the glance and see how they are, and if they were nice they were nice but you know you would kind of be on your guard because I dunno, I think it goes with the job. But some of them had a really bad reputation. After a few times working with them it was quite apparent, erm, I think I was quite naive actually but my friend who I used to work with at the time, she kind of didn’t, I kind of felt a bit let down that she didn’t explain what was going on because one time when we were working at The Ferry Tavern, and this is when it all started kind of revealing itself, and girls from Middlesbrough came down and it was just you know, you’d get paid something ridiculousl like forty pounds to just dance, then eventually you’d do one strip, but this is like for hours and hours, then eventually you’d leave at about four o’clock in the afternoon, so this would be from twelve o’clock til four, something like that, then the Middlesbrough girls would come and you would recognise the familiar faces, who you got on with, some of them were really pleasant, if not all of them. Erm, and then all of a sudden I remember there was a lot of commotion and I remember we were told to stay in the changing room and not look, and I was just a bit, I was looking at my friend and thinking what’s going on? And because she’d been

doing it a lot longer than me I was quite... I was a little bit pissed off actually, and I just thought what’s going on, why didn’t you kind of, what, what is actually happening, why don’t you kind of tell me that this was like, this is actually happening because obviously the door outside was locked and we were actually inside and we were kind of ushered to stay in the room, and then I just thought right, OK, what is actually going on? So I tried to have a little peep outside and there’s a lot of men like congregated round one girl who was actually on stage and they had like apparatus that they were using, like things that they were using, and I was just thinking right, okay, and things like baby oil and I thought right, okay, you know that might just be part of the act, you know the whips came out, it’s just like this is serious shit going on, and some vibrators, like really big vibrators were coming out. There were guys just watching, cheering, and it was quite interesting just looking at the men’s faces, seeing what kind of facial responses they were actually pulling to what they were seeing, and obviously when whatever what was going on had finished it was quite, the erm atmosphere in the place was quite electrifying and it was quite, quite tense and you could actually say very sexual, so erm, just tried to be dignified cos I thought well, I think things like that actually made me feel quite bad and just I don’t know, like as though I was in a seedy place, but obviously I had to get on and do my, my spots, so I went out there, did my best, but then it felt as though

whatever I was doing was not good enough, it wasn’t good enough, and it wasn’t, it made me feel kind of paranoid on stage, I was looking at the men thinking they’re not pleased with this, they feel dissatisfied, you know I’m not pleasuring their experience here and I try and just ignore it as best as I could, get on with it, but it’s still you know, it’s quite scary cos the stage was quite raised and it’s like a runway so you’re actually on a runway, there’s nowhere to go. It’s only so wide and there’s people everywhere. So you know you come off and sometimes it’s just best to look at one person, focus on them, or maybe just focus on the stage, on the pole sorry, or maybe if your friend’s lurking in the background, just focus on that person. So anyway, that was one experience. Another experience was erm, the jobs were quite, if the jobs weren’t actually coming in quite frequently, because you’re working freelance, best thing you would have to do was just ring different agencies, so there was only like two agencies, so what we’d do is ring them, they give you some work, and this agency gave me and my friend some work and we were based in Carlisle, it was quite interesting, fun, we got in the car, everything was fun, hunky dory, having a good time, and there was this driver, this lady driver, from Middlesbrough. She was passed on from the agency, “this is my good friend, she’s gonna drive you, she’s gonna take care of you.” Yeah, fine, happy because we’re going to Carlisle, somewhere different, 169

we’re just young girls you know we’ve got our Lambrini, having fun, I’m with my best friend, it’s great, oh. Middlesbrough girls are gonna come. So we get to the event and there’s trouble from the onset. Stomach is actually in knots, I don’t know what is going on and nobody, it’s just discontent straight away, nobody knows what’s going on, so basically we tried to take control of the situation and ask the person who owns the venue what time are we going on, we were told we were getting paid this much, try to ring the agency, she’s switched her phone off. She couldn’t give a shit. So great, so then this is her best friend, point of contact, so bearing in mind her best friend is there, the driver, so we try and ask her, and we realise we’re actually on our own. This driver doesn’t really care about us. We’re young girls in a vulnerable situation. The Middlesbrough girls decide to actually turn on us and one, this is like second time you know, I’m thinking you know I’m putting the Ferry Tavern thing down to experience and just you know, things like that might happen, it’s fine, I got out of there fine, nobody was saying anything horrible on stage, you forget about it, you move on. So this is like months later, it could’ve even been a year later, you know let’s not judge people, so you just move on. Anyway we’re at this event, first thing when we work in it’s just chaos straight away, nobody knows what’s going on, ring our agent, she doesn’t give a shit, phone’s off. So we speak to this driver, she is just like siding with the Middlesbrough girls. The Mid-

dlesbrough girls are actually, we actually decided right, we’re here to make money, we have to pay our driver, otherwise how are we gonna pay the driver? So we start doing some lapdances and the Middlesbrough girls did not like it because they’re quite, they’re not pretty. They’re quite ugly. There’s one which was really tall. Her hair was, I mean, you know, thing is if you’re gonna like, you know, be on show, not saying that, you know, most of the girls are, think they’re supermodels or anything but if you’re gonna be on show you’re gonna try and look your best, have a bath, look clean, make sure your nails, you know, your hygiene, you know your hair is to a certain standard, you’re groomed, that kind of thing. But you know, you don’t want to look at somebody and think ‘oh my god I’m gonna be sick.’ So she was like built like a man, so she starts shouting at my friend for no reason, shouting at my friend, and then she hit her for no reason and it was horrible. This man had to actually get involved and split the fight up, and they were fighting for no reason, and it was just because they were really jealous because we had taken the initiative to start lapdancing, because it was a strip job and the men obviously had booked these blue girls and we realised it was a blue show that was going on. I was absolutely disgusted. E: Can you explain about what happened? you turned up to the venue thinking it was a strip job, it was a blue job? S: Yeah, we were told it was

a strip job. It was two spots. Two spots, eighty, OK. E: And you got there and they didn’t want strippers? S: No. They’d obviously, they’d used this agent before and the blue girls, so that’s not what was going down here. The men were ready to go, they were waiting for a blue show. E: So can you say, can you just say so it’s really clear for the tape recorder, our agent has told us it was a strip job and we got there and they wanted us to do a blue show which we didn’t want to do? S: Yeah, misleading. E: Are you ok to repeat what you just said please? S: Yeah, our agent wanted us to erm, had told us that it was going to be a strip job and then when we got there it was not that. They’d booked, they’d had, they’d used this agent before, and bear in mind she did have strippers and she did have blue girls. We didn’t know that at the time but when we turned up they were expecting a blue show from the Middlesbrough girls and, sorry, we used our initiative and we thought right we’re doing lapdances, and because they can not lapdance and talk they didn’t like that at all so they punched my friend. E: And so did they actually end up doing the blue show? S: Yeah, they did it. E: Can you explain what a blue show entails? 170

S: Erm, a blue show, I didn’t really want to watch but it was kind of, they, there’s two girls and it’s supposed to be, dunno, obviously you sign a contract and the contract would be for simulation, but a blue show it’s not simulation, it’s actually two girls actually going for it and you know using a vibrator and inserting the vibrator in eachother, wherever they want to put it whether it’s, just imagine it’s your lover but they’re actually doing it for the same price, maybe just thirty pounds more, a hundred pounds say, which I think is not, is not really that, I dunno, it’s not really fulfilling is it? Cos it’s quite a private act and I think if you’re gonna do something like that I dunno... But anyway, I never really wanted to watch so I only watched a little bit but I think some can involve guys as well maybe. Definitely. Yeah. Because there’s no, there’s no kind of boundary really is there? It’s a grey area, if you’re gonna do a blue show then some might say we’re just having us two who are involved, who are the act, the two girls, but then some may actually involve a guy. I dunno, my experience of stripping is quite a negative one, and it’s something that is quite dark and seedy, not my idea of fun whatsoever. E: I never experienced a blue show (inaudible), erm, how did it make you feel to know that that kind of thing went on? S: I didn’t like it because I just feel it was kind of a secret and it was only amongst certain people who knew that, and even a good friend of mine who did

know that did not actually say anything to me about that, she just kept it to herself. And there was another time when we were booked to work at this like pub and it’s just erm, in Newcastle, opposite St. James’ Park, and we were told, you know, there’s gonna be footballers there, and it was like the ‘90s so you can imagine quite a high prolific footballers, so I was like thinking, had butterflies in my stomach just for the nervous factor because you know you’re gonna perform to someone who erm is gonna see you naked and it’s a footballer, so, anyway, we get there and I was thinking it was gonna be quite nice but then somebody told me the location because I’d never beenE: Keep it further away cos it’s clipping, yeah, make sure you don’t have it any further than up here cos it’s clipping, the sound’s going hiss. S: I’d never been to that part of Newcastle but erm I was told it was quite a rough football kind of place, erm, like pub for footballers, so anyway we get there and I was thinking it’s gonna be a classy, classy event. It was not. Erm, these are footballers who are like married and I was really confused. The guy who owned the bar was basically wanting us to do kind of a blue show. He said you know, after your spot later on you can either do blue show or kind of extras. I was just thinking what is going on? Extras. And I just thought this is absolutely... So I did my spot, I thought right I’m gonna do my spot. I’m gonna do my spot two spots - and I’m gon-

na get the hell out of here. Because obviously they’ve, these footballers, high profile footballers had used this agent before and they’ve obviously, they’re not interested in the dance, they’re interested in like hardcore sex basically. So I just did my spot but it did not make me feel confident at all. The music, the sound was really bad frequency, was quite low, so I could not get into the act. Erm, it was like daytime, and it was just cold, it was just horrible. And when I was actually going round, some of the girls were sitting on their laps and grinding, and I just though this is really bad, this is just, this is not me, definitely not, and I thought I’d rather get my eighty pounds, go home. I’d rather get my eighty pounds and just go straight home. So I got my eighty pounds and went home. E: Can you talk to me about what the pricing was for the jobs, and what the different kind of places were, and how much you’d get for each of the places, and what the service was, how many times, what it entailed, you know. S: I think for, there was an agent called, an agency called Rhyhm Angels, erm, that was kind of a classy, kind of established business and if they actually organised a strip job it would be no less than a hundred, no less than a hundred, and it would not be in working men clubs, it would kind of be at say a banquet event or something and it kind of did make you feel a little bit special and just I dunno the working conditions were much better so therefore, you 171

know you just want to go in, although the men have still got the same motives and outcomes, it still you know, I dunno, it depends, it makes, it depends on the atmosphere that you’re working in I think and it just depends on what the girl wants and what the guy wants, so if you know you just want to go in there, make some money, go home, that’s what you’re gonna do. But I think if you want to stay behind, it doesn’t even matter if it’s in a dingy workman club, because at the end of the day you are in control. You are in control and you know erm, you can just basically stay behind, have a drink, or you can just do your job, go home, that’s the end of that. But I find if you kind of stayed behind, they kind of felt they knew a little bit more about you and they kind of would be expecting a bit more, but the kind of prices that you would expect depending, it depends on the agent. Different agencies. But erm the other two agencies that I’d worked for, you would expect less than Rhythm Angels, less money, because they were kind of seen as the underdogs, so. And it’s obviously a very competitive business if, in the North East you only have three agencies if you look in the Yellow Pages. Now they probablys only have two, so the men who you know organise events where they want strippers, they know where to go. It’s not like you, dunno, you go into a bar and you just have to select, or just walk down the road. My experience is that all the other agencies, they would charge similar amount of prices, so for a Sunday Working Man’s club

it would be really ridiculous prices, something like sixtyfive pounds for two spots. Sixty-five pounds for two spots. And then you have to pay for a driver, which would be about fifteen pounds. If it’s out of Newcastle it’s twenty pounds, and if you have a drink whilst at the event then your money’s gone. E: Do you think stripping is a worthwhile career? S: I, umm, I’m trying to kind of be positive about it but it, it depends, I don’t know. E: Remember that I don’t want this to seem like I’m asking questions when the interview is played back, so. S: I think I, if I’m trying to be honest I don’t think stripping is a worthwhile career. I think it is if you want to, for kind of life experience and if you want to kind of be solid in a, you know, it can actually make your, I dunno it can shape your life I suppose, and you can get positive things from it, and a kind of outlook from life and different perspectives and think right, okay, I’ve done that and I appreciate having done that but now I’m gonna move on and do something else. E: How do you feel it has made you feel about being a woman and what do you feel about the equality between men and women bearing in mind stripping and that women have certain expectations in terms of how they look? S: I think that erm, if I was to sum up stripping and how it makes me feel as a woman um, I would say it’s quite,

it’s quite complex because, it’s quite complex because a lot of people would say if you are actually doing that kind of job you must have low self esteem, no ambition and you mustn’t value your femininity, but I think, I think I’ve met a lot of strippers who have actually done the job and who have gone on to do great things and I think it’s easy to kind of judge somebody and say you know, that because you do that then it’s taking something away from you as a female, but I don’t think it is about that, I think it’s just everybody has kind of different life choices and different paths, reasons why they might get into doing something and the majority, the majority of people that I’ve met who’ve done it have been kind of good friends and they’ve never taken money off anybody to have sex or give any kind of sexual pleasure, you know, they’re actually quite interesting people who’ve went on, who’ve had success in different things away from this kind of world, you know, so I think it’s hard to say that, can it take something away from your femininity because I think, if I think back from the beginning it kind of made, it gave me so much confidence and that’s what I felt, and it’s kind of riding on the high time, quite young and I thought, I just thought I was quite untouchable, and I think it’s like with anything you get to a certain point in your life doing something and you think, had enough of this now, I need to kind of like, it’s like being a butterfly, you need to spread your wings and do something completely different. I think it’s just different stages in 172

your life. (CLIP BREAK) S: I don’t think it does. E: I don’t think it does. If you’re strong. S: You’ve got to be strong. E: Got to be really strong. I think it makes you strong. Do you think it makes you strong? S: I think. Have you stopped? Yeah it makes you strong, yeah it makes you strong, definitely, but I’m in a way really really glad that I’ve kind of done that because of lots of different experiences that I’ve been in and it’s, you know, if I don’t talk about them then it’s all for me and only for me and it’s quite interesting, it’s quite nice to know that I’ve kind of, you know that thing sometimes people say “wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall?” Well, in this instance, I could say that I’ve actually thought about it and I actually have done it, so I can kind of you know, I can’t sympathise or empathise, I’ve actually done it, but erm I think it’s interesting to see some of my friends who’ve went on to do really really interesting things, like write a book, get a book published, some girls who’ve got their own businesses, erm, and then there’s some girls who, one girl who used to do nude shows, well blue shows, killed herself, she hung herself and she left a little boy, and it was just, because I used to think how do you do that? How do you let men watch you put vibrators up yourself then go home, and how do you sleep at night?

Because sometimes I used to think that, you know I used to think, Stone Roses song, Ian Brown, how do you sleep at night, how do you keep the dogs at bay? Just about my things and how I’d acted as a person and you know, not that I did anything wrong, I just went out and took my clothes off, got some money, went home, but then I used to have conscious, I used to think about it and think oh, am I feeling bad about it, or is it just how society had kind of made you feel, that you should feel bad about it, but then you know, tomorrow’s a different day, get up, you go out and do the same thing. But then I used to think about her and her friends doing these blue shows and I used to think something has to give. And then one day I was working and somebody said you know, she hung herself. I was just so in shock because, although she did blue shows, she was quite nice and I just used to feel quite sorry for her, but it’s like in all walks of life, you don’t have to do anything really alarmingly bad to want to kill yourself. You know, it’s not because of how you live sometimes, it’s just how life happens.

Suzanne E: You can just tell me about S: Well I’d have to, if you’d end up doin a proper interview anyway I’d have to sit and have a think cos sometimes I’m sittin I’m goin “eee, remember the time!” cos you forget all this stuff that’s gone on. E: Yeah but also when I did interviews for the piece that I did with my friend who’s an escort y’know and I realised that when I’m talking, asking people questions and they’re talking going mmhmm mmhmm mmhmm, yeah, oh right, yeah yeah yeah, and you can’t do that, you have to be like ask question then be really silent, yeah, so it’s kind of a process but I reckon if we get, you know, if you can just tell me about you know Waitress: Cup of tea. E: Thankyou, that’s perfect. Erm, if you can tell me about how you got into it, you know how it all began, just about your experiences basically. S: Tell me when you wanna go. E: Just whenever you’re ready. S: And just start wafflin? E: Yeah. S: Right, how did I get into this? Erm, married at 16, divorced at 18, it’s all a bit vague now. Divorced at 18, single parent, no money, no job, ended up goin to see a lady called Anne Robertson who was the only striptease agency in the North East at 173

the time, erm, that’s where it all started and how it started. Erm, from that I worked as a stripper for I think about ten year before starting my own agency up, erm, through not bein able to work for her anymore, long story, nother story behind that one. Basically extend from there, and I’ve met so many different people over the twentyfive years that I’ve been doin it, interestin people, erm... I’m lost now. E: Yeah that’s fine, I mean maybe if you wanna, can you remember the first time you stripped? S: Oh yes, like it was yesterday. Erm, I had, I’d made meself a, now what was I sposed to, I can’t remember what I was sposed to be.... That was it, top hat and tails, erm, I stripped to a song called ‘How’s That?’ Who was it by? I can’t remember. Anyway, I didn’t get through the striptease, I came off cryin, I couldn’t do the last bit and take me knickers off, so I came off, ran off, went no no, that’s it, I’ve tried it, didn’t like it. The chap who was on, it was actually at the Wallsend East End Club, and the chap came out, I can’t remember hes name now, and said “aww, nevermind pet, you’ll do better next time but you were great,” and gave us my, I think it was twelve pounds at the time, which was an absolute fortune. So from that I just, I had another two clubs to go to, I thought right this is it. Did a little bit better in the next one, did a lot better in the next one and went home wi thirty, in fact I think I went home with a bit more because the last club gimme a tip for ‘there you go pet, ye’ll be aright,”

and a full costume. Erm, my police woman consisted of a jacket a shirt, the tie, the skirt, erm, suspender belt, stockins, garters, gloves, squeaky truncheon and police hat, so ye had all that time to take yer clothes off. Difference I find now, I went to a show couple o’ weeks ago with some o’ the girls and went “oh you gonna get ready now my love?” “Aw, I’m ready.” Bikini. I goes “oh, E: And soright, okeydokey.” The girls just go on in a bikini now S: And then it gets so much easier, it got so much easier, and more lapdance for the chaps, there’s no themes. to take yer clothes off, it’s like goin in the bath, where- You had policewomen, nursas one point I’d be absolute- es, french maids, schoolgirls. All that sorta thing. ly terrified, standin shakin at the side of the stage, and And only one person was allowed to do that costume. then it just gets so easy. But y’knowE: And did you, did you E: See when I started stripdance, were you a dancping that’s kind of what it er before you started was like. Cos I remember stripping? going to The Brunny and there was this woman stripS: Eh, no. I could move in ping and I can’t remember time to music but I was her name but she’d been never trained as a dancdoing it for a long time, er or anything, nothing like twenty years or so. that at all, in fact I wasn’t even a very good dancer, S: It wasn’t Hacky Jackie but all you had to do was be able to walk around then. was it? Haha. That’s the way the strippers E: No, Hacky Jackie was worked, they just walked around with an exaggerated there the first time! Hacky Jackie was there. wiggle. They didn’t actually dance. In fact the did, there S: She’s still workin, seriwas one girl that danced, ously. She’s still workin. her name was Margo. She was awfully posh but the E: Hacky Jackie still works? chaps used to call her The Fastest Fanny In The West, S: Mmhmm. The pub round hahaha. Fastest Fanny In the corner, The Rose and The West, fabulous. But Crown, there’s still topless no you didn’t really have to barmaids in there, the love dance. her, they won’t have anyone else. Guaranteed there’s E: And so, and was it, was only specialist places she that a thing that you would goes to like The Eagle always have a costume or a because they love her, erm, theme? had to send her somewhere was it last Christmas, and S: Oh always you had to, erm, and got home and just went oh my God, forty quid might not seem a lot, but considerin I was gettin seven pound on whatyoucallit, income support or whatever it was then, so I ended up only on the dole for three weeks, cos I went right, this is for me. Easy money, easy money, and that was how it all started. 174

I thought ooh she might be a bit old. They absolutely loved her, loved her. So she’s still workin yeah, she must be comin up to fifty. She’s still in fabulous shape mind, yeah. E: I remember that she came out and it was The Brunny when they had the cage at the edge and she came out on stage and she was one of the first proper strippers I’ve ever seen. She walked out, she stood in the middle and she just gyrated her massive breasts and then walked up to you know the bars around the edge? Hooked her legs over and just fanny to the world, and it was the first time I’ve ever seen a woman’s vagina in such graphic detailS: And Jackie’s is not a pretty one. E: Jackie’s is not. S: It’s a bit like a doner kebab, yeah, with extra meat. E: Hahaha. S: Lovely lass. Lovely girl, yeah, she’s still workin. In fact you’d have to speak to Jackie, really you would. E: I have to speak to Jackie for this, this is like, I didn’t know she was still working. S: Oh yeah, she still does The Eagle, she still does The Rose And Crown, and odd places say “can I have Jackie please?” Obviously I wouldn’t send her somewhere where she’s the only stripper and they don’t know her because, wer, she’s too old, but I think you did, didn’t you do one of those oil rig worker dos? Well

they’re still goin, they’re still bookin two every Christmas, all these oil rig workers, and Jackie did the last one and absolutely stormed it. Well you know the two girls that you spoke to? Absolutely blew them off. But sometimes I think the chaps want to see a bit of an old time strippin, she came out dressed as a Nazi. I know, not politically correct but there you go, hey. She came out dressed as a Nazi, erm, the other girls just had bikinis on cos that’s the way they do it now and it was no good me tryin to get everybody back into costumes and create a, you know, let’s create like it used to be, cos it’s not that. So, yep. E: See that’s what got me, I think when I started stripping that’s what got me hooked, was the fact that I could wear a costume and I have hundreds, I still have all my costumes, I still have like milkmaid and you know, but not necessarily just happy being, I had a belly dancing one, I had an Egyptian Queen costume, and I loved it, and that’s what got me, that’s what I loved about it and I’m very like, when I’m on stage, well you’ve seen me dance, I’m like really like performative, and that’s what got me hooked on it and I think there’s something to be said about that side, so yeah, maybe if you could talk about what it used to be like in terms of the performance, how you’d interact with men and how that’s different now? S: Well a lot of the time you weren’t allowed to interact with the men. This was what Anne Robertson told us. There were no hard and fast rules about strippin. She 175

couldn’t actually find out any hard and fast rules about how, I mean they’ve got them all in place now where you have to be so many feet away supposedly from someone in a lapdancin club and you know, you have to be, at the time you could only be absolutely naked for three seconds. A lot of the girls didn’t, they only adhered to that when the agent was there, Anne Robertson was there, they’d do a totally different act when she wasn’t there, d’y’know what I mean? Sort of legs akimbo, cos you weren’t allowed to open your legs, you weren’t allowed to do anything, it was basically you were supposed to just stand there and take a bow once you were naked, but some of them had their legs round their necks, they were just swingin off the chandeliers and everything. Erm, totally different now, totally different in the lapdancin clubs and things like that. I mean they’ve brought out all these laws but nobody actually puts them into force. There’s a little bit of carry on goin on in Whitley Bay at the moment with the council who have stopped it, even though it was a full on stag and hen party place now, because obviously it’s not a family place anymore. Now the council are doin it to Newcastle, so basically they’re just tryin to rid the places of strippers I think, or they don’t call them strippers anymore, they call them topless dancers, so I think they’re tryin to get rid of it now because there was every social club in the North East would have Sunday afternoon strippers on. Every sundeh. Now I think when I started the agency I had about, I dunno how

many clubs, must have been a hundred clubs, and some of those clubs like in Barnston and Washington were havin four girls every Sunday. There are none now. None. No Sunday clubs. That’s all stopped. E: So the Sunday clubs have gone completely? I never did Sunday clubs but I know girls who used to do them regularly. Can you tell me a bit about them? S: The Sunday clubs, the girls used to use it to pay their commission, cos they hated doin it cos it wasn’t like on a nighttime when you’re goin out and you can have a little drink and see all your friends there and stuff like that. Sunday mornins you were in, you were on, you did two records and you were out because you had to be at another place sorta twenty, thirty minutes later. So it was basically hard work. I think the most I ever did in one day was eight Sunday clubs in between twelve and three o’clock. And that was gettin dressed in the car, runnin straight out, on the stage, and why the girls used to hate it was, Sunday afternoon, the guys have got hangovers from the Sunday night, erm, I think they used to put them on just to drag the fellas into the clubs but half the time the fellas wouldn’t take a blind bit of notice. I remember settin fire to somebody’s newspaper once, “hello, strippers on!” because I was pissed off on the Sunday morning, like ooh, I hate doin these. This guy just sat, how ignorant, and I was on the stage and he sat with a newspaper and just read hes newspaper, so I just got me lit-

tle lighter and set fire to it. I did get, I got barred from the club for that. That was the South Shields Veteran’s Club, I got barred for doin that. Yeah but, over the years the Sunday clubs just dropped and dropped and dropped, and I used to say to meself, once the Wallsend East End doesn’t have strippers on a Sunday mornin, that’ll be when it dies out, and true, the Wallsend East End stopped about four or five year ago, and it all just started goin down hill. The last club that I had that eventually came on and went, I mean to be honest I wasn’t even collectin commission from that club because I couldn’t get one girl to go out just for the prices of, cos you know how we used to do the Sunday clubs, forty quid in each place cos we were makin a bit more, er, so I ended up just the girls were just coverin it and I was in charge of any commission, and that was the last one, the Grindon Broadway, that was it. All gone. I mean some of them may have the odd one on but there’s no regular regular Sunday run like we used to do years ago. That’s died. Gone. E: It’s funny cos I remember doing it, I did it once and I hated it and never ever wanted to it again, I never wanted to do it again. It was like in the middle of the day, all the lights on you, and everybody would sit there like that. You said something that really interested me that was that Anne Robertson had these rules, and they were that you wouldn’t open your legs or anything, and what interests me is that you said the girls wouldn’t pay atten176

tion if she was there and they would open their legs and they would really you know, much more. I mean if you talk a bit about that cos it’s interesting, especially, which year was this? S: See that’s why I’m gonna have to sit down, right. Twenty four year ago when I started strippin, fifty six now, so eighties, about in the eighties isn’t it? Nineteen eighties it was. She even used to have meetins where you were told the rules and what not to do and there was three sisters in particularly that just never did, they weren’t frightened of her, they took no notice of her and as soon as she was gone like I say, their legs were open, because they’d get more work like that, so it was a bit dog-eat-dog, even then, although she was tryin to keep a hold of all of her, tryin to keep her girls all like this, there were some who weren’t bothered about her at all. E: So you think the reason they were more you know kind of like more explicit? S: Oh to get more work, yeah. You ask a fella, would you like to see a lady just standin there or would you like to see a lady with her legs wrapped round her neck, cos if they’re truthful, they’ll tell ye, they’d rather see ‘er with ‘er legs wrapped round her neck. Cos you can say oh, some chaps appreciate the art and all this. Bollocks. When they see the kidneys and everything, haha. They did that to get more work, yes. E: So girls’d make more money being more explicit.

S: Yeah, and it was a competition as well between the girls as to who was classed as the best stripper. You know, who went down the best, who got the biggest claps and you know, then they come off and we say “yeah but you only got the claps because you opened your legs so really,” “well I got them didn’t I?” Cos I would never open me legs, nah, no. No, never. E: You never opened your legs? S: No, nah. I just felt meself that that was keepin, that’s a very intimate part of me. Boobs and fairy, wey, it was hair, ye had to have a great big triangle, a great big bushy triangle, there was no shaved like there is now, and that to me was fine. I think if I’d started openin me legs it’d have been like a porn film, no, couldn’t do it. But fair play to girls who wanna do that. It’s up to them. E: So stripping back then was a lot more about tease? S: Yes. E: Whereas now it’s like porn. S: Yeah I definitely think so because the girls now, see then you would mebbes do a fifteen minute act and you wouldn’t have yer clothes off until the very end, especially your pants y’know, you wouldn’t have them off til the very end, whereas now what the girls are doin is bra and knickers, they’ve got them off on the first record. They’re doin another couple o’ records and they’re naked, sort of lapdancin

the guys, the come off the stage, they’re lapdancin. There isn’t any to watch, let’s watch the stripper and see what she does. Like I used to do an act, mad, with an emu, because it made people laugh and I felt easier makin people laugh, so guys could just sit and watch and the end “oh yeah, I’ve seen her tits and fairy,” but there’s none o’ that anymore, there’s no more acts, in fact I think Jackie’s the only one. Although sayin that, erm, Bridie, Britannia does do sort of a little bit more costume y’know, but very rare, the majority of the time they’ll have bra and knickers on. E: Cos I remember that even when I did it which was ten, twelve years ago. S: God is it? E: Mmhmm. Not when I was working for you. When I was working for you that was more recent. But when I started there were no lapdancing clubs in the North East, and we were like, it was right, like two years before they started opening the lapdancing clubs, so we would go out and I had people like Judith and Vicky Seduction taught me how to do it and we were in Cramlington in High Pit. S: Oh my god, yeah. E: And that was the first place I ever stripped, and I was terrified cos these girls would go out and they weren’t dressed, I mean they were wearing bikinis and that kind of stuff but they still, it was definitely an act, they had a chair and they’d do all this stuff, and I was shit when I first did it 177

and I just learned how to do it and I got hammered and went out and just loved it, I loved it. S: Yeah, I was three sheets to the wind, me first one. I think I drank half a bottle o’ Bacardi before I went out that Sunday mornin, and ended up in the Wallsend East End as I say. Paul Gascgoine used to sit in there as well. Gazza would sometimes be in there on Sundeh mornins. Naughty boy, there we go. More stories. E: So do you feel the internet has really affectedS: Ooh, killed it. Absolutely killed it. I mean you can go and download porn from anywhere. I can remember my husband goin “where can we get a porn video from?” and I was like “well I don’t know!” You could send away and something would come in a brown envelope, right. And it wasn’t even a bloody porn video you know, you’d been ripped off, whereas now just type in porn you get, you know you can speak to girls one on one on the internet, definitely. That’s what’s definitely killed off. I mean I say the burlesque thing has brought it back in a way but I find there’s more girls interested in burlesque than there are men. Ask a man if he wants to see a stripper or a burlesque dancer he’ll say a stripper, don’t care who they are. They might say oh but it’s the art form of the burlesque dancer. Go away, y ou’re a man, you want to see tits and fanny, hehehe. E: And, so you mentioned that it was quite competitive between the women so can you tell me a bit about, any

stories about that? S: Just what you’d find was, only certain girls could have certain costumes, but what some of the girls would do was, when they weren’t workin with that girl, they would pinch her idea. So they would have a, I found out there was a girl doin a policewoman. Whenever she wasn’t workin with me she’d do this policewoman. So you get fights, aye you get fights break out and everything in the clubs. I remember a charity do we were doin, the Lord Mayor was there, aw there was a big punch up in the dressin room, twelve of us all scrappin in the dressin room, and this was because one girl started the argument about wearin somebody else’s costume, the next thing there was boots and everythin flyin out the dressin room, great big fights. And it just used to get really competitive. And I always remember someone who I thought was me best friend cos this night I won, the lads had this daft competition, the best stripper gets a plaque. It was a bloody willy wir a pair o’ balls on, I mean y’know, where you gonna put that? But anyway I won it and she got really upset about it and I ended up havin to knock ‘er out, haha. On and on and on, I went “d’you wan it?” I went “open your mouth” and rammed it, and I says “here you go, you have it!” Stupid, silly things d’you know what I mean like a daft strippin competition. E: Why do you think she was so bothered about losing it? S: Well that’s down to her insecurities, as to, she has to be better than anyone,

you know what I mean, it’s just competition, whereas to me, had I not, really I know I’m sayin it now, it was a silly daft competition what didn’t mean anything. It was like oh, cheers fellas, that was nice, aw yeah, where am I gonna put that now, I cannot really put it on me mantlepiece. So it just got flung away anyway. But I dunno it’s just people mebbes tekin things too seriously and I was never bothered. If I wasn’t the best I wan’t bothered as long as I was gettin paid. As long as I was gettin paid and I was gettin a few jobs, you can do what you like I’m not really bothered, but some girls can’t accept that.

E: And do you think that when you started stripping do you think most of the women who did it were like you and needed the money, or? Why do you think the general reason was back then?

S: No I would say there was a group of us who had kids. It was funny because we all used to sorta stick together and go and do family days. There was a group o’ girls who were single, like Libby, One Way Sam we used to call her. She would go to a job and never come home, she’d always go off wi somebody so we used to call her One Way Sam, those girls always used to stick together. Now they E: That’s interesting. So do were doin that to get boyfyou think that there are dif, to meet men, to have a ferent reasons why people social sorta drinkin. Then strip, you know that some you had the other ones who maybe were like a woman called Nina used to wear a wig and S: Some strip because they desperately need the money as much disguise as she could because she had a like I did, and couldn’t do really good job through the anythink else. I never went day, but her and ‘er husto school, I, whatdoyoucalband they had getten into so lit, I rebelled, I never went much debt that she had to to school or anything. I did strip to, and she stripped for it for the money because five year and just stopped I had no education and it and disappeared, paid her was easy money. There are debt off, so everybody’s got some girls however have a story, everybody’s got a a fabulous education, they just do it for the thrill of doin different story. I think the majority of girls nowadays it. Some girls are exhibitionists. Some girls mebbes are just because they don’t want, no basically because have a partner to keep or, they’re lazy, because they’re everyone has their different lazy and they don’t wanna reasons for doin it. Some do nine to five. I’ll hold me people do it, they have full hand up to that. I’d rather time jobs and they do it as strip than go and do nine to a social thing, it gets them five, yeah. Er, oh no, bugger out. Sounds daft that, it that for a game of soldiers. gets them out while they’re makin money, so they’re not Actually because I came spendin money while they’re into strippin quite, I hadn’t out they’re actually makin it. really done much with me life, I decided I was gonna So everybody’s got a differright, I’m gonna go and get ent reason for doin it. 178

a proper job, so I went to Bon Marche, funniest thing I’ve ever done, y’know the old ladies shop, smells o’ piss, and they all have little bells on their purses? I loved that for about three weeks then it was like oh God, nine to five, I can’t do this. So the majority of girls I think are like, you know, they don’t wanna work nine to five. A lot of the girls now though have had to go out and get daytime jobs as well and are usin what strippin money they’re gettin to supplement, just for spends or y’know, you can’t, unless you’re willin to travel to all the different places, to ring an agent. Like, if a girl rang me from London right now I’d say ooh yeah, I can give you a week’s work. And then she’d move on to somewhere else, but stayin in the same place all the time you’re not gonna get much, not much work nowadays. E: Have you noticed any difference, what differences have you noticed in the amount of work since the recession started? S: It’s just not there, hehe. Erm, the regular, I mean we’ve got some regular jobs that’ve been on for years and years and years and they always will be, but the day of the lad’s night out, a stag night they used to call it, they’re very few and far between now. A club would put one on and anybody’d be able to pay on the door and get in. They’re nearly always private work parties, Christmas parties and things like that now, there’s very few clubs’ll put on just. I get people saying it’s the football team’s presentation, we want five lasses. Very rarely just pay on the door

and go see, in a social club anyway. You can still do it in The Eagle and one or two places round newcastle, but very few and far between now where you can pay to go see a stripper, it has to be a lapdancin club. E: And do you think the lapdancing clubs had a big effect on that? S: Erm, definitely, as well, a lot of the, a lot of blokes that I spoke to who couldn’t really afford the lapdancin clubs would go in and get their eyes taken out and then that was it, “bah I’m not gonna see a stripper, bloody rip you off,” and I’m sayin well, yeah, in the lapdancin clubs, but not a stripper in your own little, how can she rip you off? D’you know what I mean, you’re just payin to see a stripper. E: So what do you think the differences are between the experience of going to a lapdancing club, paying to see a stripper, do you think it’s like S: I think you’ve got all your bouncers and your monkeys and people are watchin you whereas in a social club it’s just more free and easy. More free and easy, erm, as I say you’ve got to be careful in the lapdancin clubs cos some of the lads get really wild and they’d just get chucked out, and the amount of money that you have to spend cos a lot o’ blokes won’t even pay for a lapdance they’ll just go to watch the girls wanderin about and I mean then the private ones, that’s yer perves that are gonna, yer perves that are gonna pay for escorts and things like that. This little group o’ peo179

ple I’m talkin about were a group of lads who were like “aww, we’re gonna go down see the strippers on a Friday,” to the local club, pay two pound get in, shout at we, abuse, I say abuse we, shout at ye, chuck beermats at ye, things like that, didn’t get chucked out, whereas you can’t go on like that in a lapdancin club and I dunno I think the chaps look as if there’s a little bit o’ high class there, goin, “oh we’re goin to the lapdancin club,” then they’d always moan, “oh I spent two hundred quid, wor lass went off it!” Y’know, whereas you get five strippers on at a local club you spend nowt but your two pund to get in. E: Interesting cos people spend a lot more money. Personally I think that lapdancing is between stripping and escorting cos when I’ve lapdanced I used to make, I was working in Brighton a year and a bit ago, I was making two grand a night, S: Oh my God! E: I was, because I would go in, early in the evening, I would start at eight, I would see somebody and I would go “you”, and I would go and sit with them and I would convince them that they needed me to make them feel good for that evening. I’d get them into the VIP room, ply them with the free fucking cava that they used to give us and I’d get them to spend, I would come out of that place with at least five hundred pounds a night, on a shit night, and the girls hated me, hated me because they were like she’s not the skinniest, she’s not the brownest,

she doesn’t look like a page three girl, why is she making so much money? And it’s because I can talk, it’s because I’ve got the gift of the gab. S: Yeah, that’s why I couldn’t be a lapdancer. I had me little routine up on the stage and that was my comfort zone, erm, I would be very uncomfortable, this is just me, but I think it’s like beggin. I know that’s wrong and it’s not, but for me personally to have to go “please could I do a dance for you and will you pay us?”, nah. Whereas me sayin right, yes have all paid to get in, I’m not gonna do a dance for ye. That was me happy. There was even things like, when we’d go down to Liverpool or somewhere they’d have a different way o’ doin it, and the girls would have to take their own glass around. I was mortified, absolutely mortified because when we did extra spots in Newcastle the concert chairman would collect for ye, and you would go right “I want thirty quid” or, so they would collect, not “here, howay lads!” All the girls do it now but no, I’d have been mortified, no, couldn’t do it. It’s like beggin. I know it isn’t, I know it isn’t, but that’s the way I would feel. E: So for you what you did as a stripper was as an entertainer, and an artist? S: Yes, yes. Mmhmm. E: And it had more...yeah, what I’m getting is there was more like meaning in a way and it was more kind of, you know because there would be two girls on and everybody would go to see those two people rather

than it being fifty girls in a club all grappling for twenty men’s attention, so it’s actually, do you feel that, do you feel eitiher are more demeaning or? S: I would say lapdancin’s more demeanin, but that’s my opinion. I mean some girls say lapdancin, no, couldn’t do that, y’know, but then when like you say when you were the only two girls then all the guys were grapplin for your attention, not the other way round, so when people used to say we were bein exploited I used to turn round and say sorry but, as far as I’m concerned, I’m exploitin that man there because he’s come to see me takin me clothes off, so who’s gettin exploited? I know what I’m here for. So that was always rubbish. I was bein exploited? E: What’s your experience of men who go to see strippers? S: I’ve had some funny, I’ve had some funny ones yeah. I’m talkin about years ago. This man once asked us what I et. He says “whaddaya eat?” I says “food.” “Naw man, do you?” I think he meant do you have a special diet to keep yourself lookin, hehehe, but he just went “whaddaya eat?” And then there was one chap went erm “can I get ye a drink?” I went “half a lager please, thankyou.” End o’ the night he went “haway! I bought ye a drink!” I says “half a lager?” I says, “I’m worth a lot more than that me darlin!” I says “I tell ye what how much was it?” It was thirty pence at the time, I went “there’s your thirty pence me darlin, you ‘ave that back.” He expected me 180

ancer, so everyone and their because I was a, “you’re a granny’s a poledancer, a stripper!” I went “listen me lapdancer, it’s been made a darlin I’m married wi chillot easier to do it, hence it’s dren!” “Here, she’s married wi kids and she’s a stripper!” been swamped with lots of people workin now, there’s Really, so ignorant, couldn’t girls everywhere now, evebelieve I was married, and rywhere. I mean I remember had kids and I was a stripwhen we first started the per. I dunno what, I mean mebbes you’d have to speak agency up someone went “there’s two girls strippin in to some man that was Darlington,” I went “there around at at that time and ask them what they thought can’t be, I don’t know about cos cannot really get in their them,” it was that, two sisters it was I think, and we heads can ye? But used to were all shocked because make me think wey, and they were doin lesbian acts, some would be in awe of ye oh my God, two sisters, erm, which I always thought was but that’s how different it strange cos then I’d go “I’m was then, you sorta knew only a stripper!”, but I think it was the biggest part of my every stripper that was about, whereas there’s millife as well because I went lions about now, millions. from bein just this girl who was sixteen gotten married, E: So they would do what, never went to school from sisters would do a lesbian when I was twelve, I was act together? hangin about wi me boyfriend all the time, erm, so S: Yeah, together. Yeah. I’d never did anything about Hehehe. Oh. I know, well. from work in Boots the Ooh. No. Hahaha. Where chemist and a shirt factocan ye take that? Incest? It ry and all of a sudden I was is isn’t it, that’s incest. Ooh, like, I really thought “I’m in showbusiness!” hehe, I real- dear me. ly thought I was like oh, this E: I remember seeing two is fabulous! Until you get used to it and then went like girls doing that, a Daily oh, I’m just a stripper. I real- Sport show actually and being utterly shocked and ly thought it was something horrified they were doing different. it. Ashley Bond, that was her name, and her sister E: Do you feel like, do you Samantha Bond and Ashreckon I mean, do you think ley Bond doing a lesbian act that was a common thing and I was like actually going for women at the time and to be sick, that was the do you think it still happens most gross thing I’ve seen with girls? in my entire life. I couldn’t believe it. Did you ever, so, S: I think so, not so much you were saying when you now. I think there was a stripped that you wouldn’t thing years ago where a lot open your legs and it was a o’ women went ooh, striplot more a kind of reserved pin is an art and I can do it whereas now you watch the performance and now it’s amount o’ girls when there’s obviously not like that at all, and how did you feel as a pole in a club who can an agent when, you know, actually poledance and go about, how do you feel, oh, I’m gonna be a poled-

like do you feel you have a responsibility over how the girls behave? S: I did used to think that but I cannot be responsible for every girl out there. I mean sort of at one point you see there was say ten jobs a night, y’know. It’s down, they know, it’s down to them to keep themselves safe. I mean sayin keep yerself safe, the majority of places are fine, they’ve got people on doors and things like that. Erm, for instance the other day one o’ the girls got so drunk she sat on a chair, now, this was up in Berwick. I can’t be with them twentyfour seven. They should, I don’t think I have to tell a responsible adult you shouldn’t be drinkin that much when you’re strippin because you’ve gotta have your wits about ye. She got so drunk she couldn’t see, she still had another job to go on the night time. The other girls rang me up and said “Suzanne, she’s out of it, she can’t see.” Lots of the guys walkin past were havin a good big grope and abusin her, she sat there in the corner like this, so the manager had to take her into the back room, coffee and everything. I had to stop her from workin on the night time. There’s only so much I can do, y’know what I mean? When I eventually got hold of her, cos she hid for a few days, erm, and I was like “what are you playin at? You’re gonna end up murdered in a back alley somewhere. You were gonna try and go off wi these two fellas if one o’ the girls hadn’t stopped ye, ye cannot do that when you’re in this sorta job, you need to have your wits about 181

North East and that was ye. Everybody likes a drink, Anne Robertson, so if you you know, and yeah you didn’t work for her you did can have one or two, but if not work, or you’d have a you were workin in a facganster knock on yer door tory would you be drinkin? If you were workin in a shop and say right, don’t you go round here takin your would you be drinkin? I clothes off and that. I mean know you’re in a nightclub she did a lot of press, a lot situation but.” So really, no, it’s down to them. I can’t tell of television. We used to them how to, I can tell them sit and she used to tell we what we had to say, that yes what I expect of them but all call me mother, and I’m whether or not they’ll do it, it’s really down to them, cos like a mother to ye and this and that, and what a crock I don’t feel responsible. I think I did used to years ago o’ shit. Everybody was terrified of her. Erm, but then but over the years I’ve realagain y’see as the years go ised no you can’t, people on I think she mellowed a are gonna do what they’re bit and she got a bit fed up gonna do and it doesn’t o’ the agency and everythin matter you tellin them this so I think me takin over was isn’t the right way to do it and this is the wrong way to just a case of her gettin fed up with it. I think if she’d do it, all I can do it like well been a bit younger she’d you’re not doin it the way I have had a bit more fight in expect it to be done for the ‘er. So I was sorta “yeah! I’m agency, so I just let them the winner!” and I was like go and they can go off on their own. And I normally gi “oh, what have I got? Strippin agency? Wow.” I’ve lost people three chances, so, me track there, where we haha, so. goin after that? E: What’s your experience E: I was just gonna say with other agents? about, I mean it’s, you know it’s obviously, she was the S: Apart from the first one first stripping agent in the when I started the agenNorth East and so you were cy up with Anne Robertson the second? and her threatenin to chop me legs off, it’s been about, S: I would say so yeah. I it’s basically she was the took it away from ‘er. I took only agency in the North that away from ‘er. Funny East, she brought strippin thing was as well, she had into the North East. There a twentyfive year reign. I’m is a book out called Stripcomin up twentyfive year pers by Chris Ashton, and and I’m gonna pack in when that tells Anne Robertson’s I’m twentyfive, so it’s funny story, about how she came that in’t it? Two twentyfives. from Ireland and brought strippers across. Now, she was in with a few sort of not E: So fifty years it’s been happening? very nice people who she used as sort of, to keep her S: Mmm, yeah. girls right and stop them strayin and she would not E: And erm, so what was it let you go work for anyI mean, how is it, cos you one else, there was only don’t just book strippers one striptease agent in the

you book other things as well? S: Yeah well I do ladies nights with drag acts and comedians, I mean we even branched out into singers. Basically anything, like if a club rings me and wants anything now, I’ll get it. Mud wrestling, dwarfs, anything you like, you know, if people want it, we’ll get it. Simple as that, and that’s just sorta like pushin for more work now, sort of had to branch out a bit. E: So what’s your experience of other strippers who, you know other agents, and like, do they tendS: See the agents I worked for were all fine, but they weren’t strippin agencies, they were erm like sort of for bands and things and they would just come to me for strippers. Erm, now, E: What about people like Carol and-

S: Well no, cos I wouldn’t entertain Carol cos what E: And what about drivers? she did was, she started drivin for me, then decidS: I don’t do ‘em anymore. I ed erm, she was gonna stopped doin them, the reastart an agency, which is son bein I used to have a all very well, but not wi my team of drivers and the girls people you won’t, so there would go out, get drunk, be was always a bit of a war sick in their car and they’re on with Carol, I was always comin to me, and I’m like, gonna come down to Has“can you go to the girl that well Plough and kill ye. But was sick in your car, not to it was the way, no, I always me?” And then somebody say to people I can’t stop, everybody to their own. Any- didn’t turn up and they were like “yeah but you gave us body startin an agency up the job,” I was havin to subbut you don’t do it on my sidise, give drivers money back, you don’t steal my when girls didn’t turn up, people you know, and you cos I’d given them the job don’t go into my venues and say “I can give you girls so I stopped all that about five year ago and we’re much cheaper,” then, which “right, we do not supply drivis fine you can do that, but ers anymore, you make your then after that, then put my 182

girls in it who were workin. Give you a for instance, Monty’s night club, it’s still goin. I used to send the girls down to Ripon, you’re talkin ninety pound remember? Lapdancin now. They go all the way there for a guarantee of, if nobody comes in, they’ll get sixtyfive pound and they’ll go. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of times they do make a bit of money, but that was because Carol came in and dropped the price and then if you wanna go back, I had said no no, the girls aren’t comin down for that, nothing, all the way to Ripon and then if they don’t even get a lapdance, cos it’s a hitty missy place that, as to whether people are gonna get in, I says “no I want a guarantee that if nobody walks through yer door you give the girls sixtyfive quid,” so that it, all it does competition is cheapens things because everybody’s battlin for the work so that they’re droppin the price and droppin the price, so that’s helpin kill it off as well.

own way to the venues,” so, I don’t know about drivers anymore, can’t help ya there. E: I’m just trying to think what kind of, what did your family think about you doing it? S: Erm, me mam’s fabulous, she’d, whatever makes me happy, whatever I had to do. The funny thing was I told, I didn’t tell her at first, I said I was go-go dancin. So went in Sunday mornin, I shoulda known you’d think “go-go dancin?” - that’s what you used to call it then - “go-go dancin on a Sunday afternoon?” “Aye” So we goes to The White House in Washington, walks through the door, there’s me dad sittin there. Ohhh. “Hallo Min” he went, he calls us Min, “Wha you doin in here?” I went “Oops, I was supposed to be the stripper dad but I’ll speak to you later.” So I went into the dressin room, went to the concert chairman “I’m sorry, I cannot go on, me dad’s sittin in the front.” So he went back out, me dad was sittin in the front wir all ‘es lorry driver friends, so the bloke went out he says “look your dad’s gone out,” I says “no no, wait a minute,” went out spoke to me dad, he was like “aaah, is this what you’re doin miss?” I’m like “dad, please don’t tell me mam, she’ll be horrified!” I went, but I just thought eh, bugger it, so me dad stayed outside, I went on, and while I was on all hes mates were goin “I’m tellin your dad, I’m tellin your dad!” hahaha. I said aw, bugger it. Came off, by the time I get home me mam’s sittin there drummin her fingers on the table like this. “You told me you were a go-go dancer,” I went “I

know mam, but y’know.” “I thought you were makin a bit o’ money, right, I’m comin to see ye.” So I took her to Rock Shots to see us, I mean I did make sure there was a girl on who didn’t do the old openin the legs, erm, so it was me and Shelly. I always remember, because when I was a stripper Anne Robertson had told me “oh, you’re a natural redhead, the guys’ll love that.” No they didn’t, they hated it, so I used to dye it black, cos you had to have big pubic hair triangle. And sat me mam down, she says “eee that was lovely, mind I’m pleased you kept them little black knickers on!” She thought the hahaha, so I was like over the moon. So after that she never bothered. She went to see us, obviously I behaved a lot better when we mother was there, but no, she thought I had decent black knickers on so. E: That’s magic. S: So I don’t think she actually knew that I was goin fully nude. She knows now obviously but me mam’s always been, whatever my you know, whatever she wants, and I don’t think she was embarrassed by us bein a stripper, because when our David was gettin teased at school and all y’know I’d get me house broke into it was always The Stripper’s House. I was always The Stripper. I mean comin from a little place in Felham I was The Stripper and I had me house burgled because they knew that I had stuff, that I had a nice house, that I had big colour tellies and stuff like that so I’d get burgled frequently, about twice a year, but no me mam was 183

always “no, whatever you want, whatever your life.” I think my mam would’ve even been, as long as I’d been looked after, if I wanted to be an escort. Whatever makes me happy, whatever I have to do. E: That’s amazing. S: She’s a lovely woman, she’s eighty comin up. Fabulous. She’s fitter than me. E: There was something I wanted to ask you. That story about your dad that’s amazing, you know, and I mean, what are your most memorable experiences as a stripper, what things have sort of stuck with you? S: It’s gotta be the Jon Bon Jovi thing, it’s got to be Jon Bon Jovi thing. I haven’t got the picture with us but we did, there was a record company booked four strippers who wanted to set up this picture with an up and comin singer with a band and it was ‘im. I never actually saw the stripper, the four girls he wanted in bed at the Station Hotel, four girls with him like on the bed as if we were all in bed wir ‘im, cos they wanted to make ‘im look a bit more rock’n’roll, and this is before he was famous and everything, and the picture showed up in the Star a while ago, y’know when he had his new book out, the picture showed up and I’m like, I’m lookin, curly perms were all the rage then and I’m like my God, cos I did afterwards, I know, I wisht he’d been bloody famous then. E: You did what? S: Hahaha, me and me

friend. Two o’ them went home. E: You had a threesome with Jon Bon Jovi? S: Fabulous eh. Claim to fame eh? (phone) Trouble is findin the bloody thing. I’ll fetch the picture next time. Ooh that’s very loud. Ooh, and he’s gone. So that was one of the more memorable times but we’ve had some crackers. E: Can you say, cos I’m gonna edit me out of this, so is there any chance you could just say “me and my friend ended up having a threesome with Jon Bon Jovi”? S: Yeah! Me and a friend ended up havin a threesome with Jon Bon Jovi. It was before he was famous but there you go. E: Cos I’m gonna cut all that bit, just cos I’m gonna take it to my erm, I’m gonna put, cos I have to do like a final thing for my degree and I’m thinking of making the film as my final project for uni. Like making that and cos then I’ll have a lot of time and I can really really do it cos you know talking to you and it’s just opening up a whole world. S: You could start and there’s so much you can go from there. E: So I can doS: And then I’ll probably be sittin goin home goin oh, I’ve forgot about that. Somebody said to me I should write a book and I was like eh, you know. I’ll get that book Strippers for ye and I’ll send it down but it’s me last copy and you

can’t get it so I’m gonna send it down so it doesn’t get lost in the post and you can, I think it’s well thumbed mind cos there’s about twenty people had it. I lost it for about ten year and then the girl came back to the agency and she’s like “ooh I’ve got your book,” I went “gimme!” It gives a profile on all the girls, it tells ye Anne Robertson’s story. What was it called, “The Devil Comes To Tyneside.” That’s what the first chapter is. Erm, a lot of it is lies, it’s out and out lies but a lot o’ the stuff like the girl havin a miscarriage on the stage isn’t. But all the stuff about how she’s a wonderful person and, fair play to her probably good business woman but not a very humane person shall we say. E: So stories like that about a woman having a miscarriage on the stage, that’s perfect, that’s exactly what I want to hear about. S: And do you know who was one of her first strippers? Now it might be a bit old for you. There used to be a film called On The Buses. No, you’re too young y’see but a lot of people know that, and there was a woman called, her character’s name was Olive. These glasses, horrible glasses, and she was a stripper for Anne Robertson. She ended up, she plays Peggy Mitchell’s sister in Eastenders now, err, Anna Karen her name is, she plays Aunty somebody in Eastenders. Peggy Mitchell’s sister. She was one of the first strippers to strip for Anne Robertson. E: Never! 184

S: It’s when I saw ‘er on the telly I thought sure that’s Olive from On The Buses, Peggy Mitchell’s sister she plays. E: Amazing. So other sort of memorable- Actually, actually something I wanted to know is how do you think stripping and being in that world has affected like your perception of sex and sexuality and all that?

what things you do sexually and stuff like that. But no it hasn’t affected me much, not sexually, being a stripper. E: What you just said is exactly how I feel. It shows you the power you can have and what power sexuality has, and you might be feeling like a fucking big bloated whale and you’re oh, I’ve got stretch marks all that, and you see a guy and they’re like “oh my God!” like urr urr, like a pathetic little ahhh, and you realise that that’s you know, I mean a lot of that is, it’s mystifying for man.

S: Not at all, no, absolutely not at all. People have that already in their heads I believe anyway, cos I’ve been out with some very shy men who won’t even y’know, I used to have to lie back S: I think people are autoand think of England, that was me first husband, it was matic, I’ve known so many frigid strippers, girls who just like in out, in out, that’s just y’know just really realit! Erm, me second husly frigid. There was one in band, if I wasn’t up on the particular, what was her wardrobe or hangin off the name? Bambi. She was chandelier. I just think evea schoolteacher as well, rybody’s different and it’s really, it’s been the partners but we girls we used to sit around and talk about sex, I’ve been with as to how my she’d “oh no, oh no! Only life is sort of worked itself out. I don’t have any real big on Friday, and only with the hangups. The only thing now lights out.” “What, you don’t ever give him a blow job is, strange bein a stripper, Viv?” “Oh, don’t be horrenhe doesn’t see me naked dous!” and I was like oh my anymore. Oh no, can’t. No, God, haha. Aye, she was a won’t even wear a bikini schoolteacher. She had to on holiday, no. But I think obviously keep her job hidthat’s a lot to do with fiftyden. The girls all used to six and things don’t go the wear wigs and stuff years way they used to, so probably from goin to showin me ago. I was never bothered about who knew, I think body off, I just won’t now, I won’t. Bingo wings, things. If basically because me mam and dad know, me famI still looked like that yeah I ily knew, and I never hid it probably would but whatfrom me son. He thinks he ever I did never affect, no. was mentally scarred, I went I suppose it did affect me “oh yeah, you were mentalwhereas I knew the sort of power that I could have over ly scarred were you?” He was laughin about it, I was men with sex, but I never like “oh yeah, is that when felt that sexy. I’m a bit mad you got the most flashiest me, I never felt that sexy, I BMX in the school and you never felt that sexy, hence had all the clothes that, too the thing, but I know you many to wear and you had can make a man dribble by

skiin holidays and the trips to France and holiday every year with yer grandmother?” (phone) Hi darlin. Err, no no not yet I’m just sittin havin a chat wi Lizzie in, what’s that pub round the corner from the bus station? Whatever it’s called I’m in there, I shouldn’t be much longer though. Have I getten any? Aye, please, uh-huh. I’m on me healthy eatin kick thing again. Aye, wey I’ll find someink when I come up. I’m still in it. I’m still there, aye. Okey dokey. Bye. You have two messages...

girl I was talkin to you about, they decided on a Sundeh afternoon, but once the Frankie, who said she’ll stripper had been on then have a chat wi you, she was it would be a church. It was a fireeater, she burnt herone o’ me first jobs stripself badly. She blew, silly pin and I thought oh there’s lass blew the fire, moutheverybody outside with ful of petrol, blew the fire placards sayin I’m goin to into a mirror, came straight the devil and all of this. I back at her, she screamed, remember which club it was kicked over the petrol, the cos it’ll probably, you’ll probpetrol set light. Went to see ably, I’ll look on the interher in hospital in Aberdeen, net as well and see if I can cos it was Aberdeen where find out clippins from it cos I she was workin, I’ve never know it was a long time ago, seen anything like it, it was but there was all these men like something off o’ Alien. and women paradin outside That was awful but she was and I’m goin in, there was in, she’s livin in Malaga now newspaper reporters and but she’s in Nottingham at that there, I basically had to the minute, she says you E: So you were talking erm, go in with a blanket over me can have her number you about Jackie. Are there any head, I felt like one of these sort of other really memora- can have a chat. She’s in the book as well, it was Nina “no comment!” Right, goin ble strippers you’d say? in like that. But there’s just her name, Frankie, erm, but little things pop up, there’ll then she laughed, she says S: Loopy Linda. A girl called Loopy Linda. I do really think “oh at least I got a pair of tits be a load of stuff that I’ve forgotten but it’s gone in the out the fire” because she she was mentally disturbed back of me memory. I’ll start though. I haven’t heard from was all scarred and everywritin stuff down. thing and because of her her in years and years and job the national health then, years, but she used to do E: Thankyou, that’d be which was unheard of in mad things like come out amazing. Also something is those days, actually gave in a paddlin pool and then names, people’s names, so her a set of new boobs, so just pour all these different interesting isn’t it how peowe were all like, “hey that’s, colours of luminous paint, ple choose a different name, hehehe! Ye’ve just getten obviously kiddie’s luminous get called things. a new pair of tits!” But she paint you know, not gloss was horrifically burnt, really paint, over her, or she’d S: I just chose mine out of a come in with a headscarf on really bad. See a lot of stuff dirty mag. Liked it. I’ve forgotten and it’ll proband a baby, a baby doll in a ably pop up. I’ll start makin pram and start hittin peoE: What was your name? notes and then write stuff ple and pretend that she’s down because stuff in my their wife and really a litS: Nicol. Nicol. But me conhead. tle bit mad, and then she’d cert chairman’s goin “here sometimes come on with she is!”, he’d call us ArseE: See that is brilliant, yeah, a great big Prince Charles, hole, Bumhole, Nic-ole, that’d be amazing, because you know like a Guy, when could never get it right. So people do penny for the Guy, that kind of stuff is so interI had wished I’d chosen a esting. Like what’s happenbut she’d made a Prince simpler name because she Charles, hahaha. She said it ing now is kind of interestwould never let ye change it, ing but you’re sort of used was her husband. She was really really, hence the name to it. What I’m more interest- once you’d got it you can’t change it, so I was Nicol. ed in is what happens, and Loopy Linda. Erm, I’m tryin Fabulous. Eee, the things the names as wellto think of some. Oh there you do eh? Hahaha. was the fire-eater who was S: Oh yeah, just while it’s always burnin herself so E: I was Lexy, after my in there, there was a social we called her Singe Minge, mum’s horse. club that they started havin hehehe. That was Vicky. Erm, oh I’d have to, ooh, the to use it as a church and 185

S: What was your e-mail, always thought that was quite funny, what was yer e-mail address? Lizzie Drip? E: It was Lizzie Rascal at gmail. S: That was it. Where’ve I getten Lizzie Drip? Lizzie Drip’s a drag act man. Lizzie Rascal, that was it. E: Lizzie Rascal, that’s my e-mail address. S: Have ye still got the same e-mail address? E: No I’ve got a different one, I’ll give it to you. S: Cos I’ll erm, you can have a look at some, I’ll make friends wir ye on Facebook and I’ll send ye a link to that video that I did. E: The video, the Saracen video, I’d love to see that. S: Erm, but that was a girl, she’s still around, girl called Sasha who I remember when she started, I actually started her and then wished I hadn’t. Beautiful, stunnin and of course black. I used to tell Brenda that, “Brenda, you make a fortune, because you’re black!” Honestly, like racism the other way round. And I started this Sasha, there’s Sasha on it, a girl called Joanne, me and me friend Brenda who I used to strip with as well, but this Sasha, absolutely stunnin. Six foot, beautiful, and you could see the guys just slaverin, she didn’t have to do anything. I always remember she did a Nina Simone My Baby Don’t Care For Me and she’d just stand there hardly movin and the guys were slaverin, they were really slaverin. 186

And then I goes on wi me emu, well, hahaha. Yep. I’m tryin to think of other stuff. Like I say I’ll start writin stuff down. E: Yeah that’s brilliant cos then you can kind of, cos this is gonna be a process, it’s gonna take a while you know, I want to make it, this has to be a work of art, you know, it has to be worthy of like, cos this is like people’s lives and such interesting lives, you know you, to be honest, you said, you know it’s amazing you could provide for your children doing this and you know you were saying you left school at twelve. I left school when I was sixteen, had no GCSEs. I only decided to come back to uni later, but you know that point I could afford to do things that I couldn’t afford to do. But there is also the thing about if you’re not educated, or you choose not to do that, or you you know go down the route of being like a carer or a nurse or something like that, which is fine, but some people that’s just not what they want to do. You know when they have bigger ideas and there’s something about stripping I think is quite expansive. It takes you places, it gets you to meet different people, you know, and yeah, it’s more interesting, like you said about the nine to five thing, not being able to do Bon Marche, don’t blame you at all. S: I did have a bit of a laugh but then when I started to do the stock takes, I was like oh no, I only came to do this for a little bit of a laugh. Used to drive me bloody mad because all the little old ladies, I tell you what there’s some shop-

lifters amongst these owd people mind, ah, they were fillin their little shoppin trollies and everything. Ah, but they’d have bells on their purses so if somebody goes to dip their handbag they’ll hear the bell, you know the little jingly bells? I says it’s like fuckin Santa’s grotto in here, you can’t hear what the bloody hell’s goin on. Try something different. That was when I started the shop with this chap here Wayne, then we opened the night club, that’s when I said oh, I’ll talk to her, I wouldn’t normally but I just wanna do this or owt to get us out the house cos I think I was turnin into a recluse, I was turnin into Dawn Love. E: See if you’re up for it, if you were up for it, I’ll stop recording it now, you can erm

Phone Call with John P E: So they’re not even allowing girls to be clothed and be dancing in the place. J: No, because the erm, I spoke to the licensing woman and she said basically if a girl, cos I said obviously the stripping element is banned, erm apart from you can use it on a normal alcohol license it’s once a month you can do it, so we won’t be doin it, everyone’ll be doin it once a month on each license as such they’ll have to pick the Saturday or whatever day of the month you want to do it on, y’know, and that’s that. But if the erm, y’know, but the question was raised well can we just have the girls like dancin on a pole with their clothes on, and they said if the girls are there to draw male customers in that’s sexual entertainment and they’d take you to court for it, you’d lose your license. E: Really? J: Yeah, they’re takin a hard line. E: And so, and you said that there’s some kind of a meeting, a pubwatch meeting on Thursday. J: It’s, yeah, they’re done on the first Thursday of the month, and this is obviously the first Thursday in February which is this Thursday. E: Uh-huh J: They’re, er, the licensing department are comin and spellin out what’s acceptable and what isn’t acceptable and what you can do and what you can’t do and obviously the police will 187

be there as well, so er, but from my conversations with the licensin department and everything it’s outright ban. You can’t have any girls apart from the once a month and there has to be 30 days between so if you do it say on the start of February you have to, there has to be a clear 30 day period between the next time you do it, so you couldn’t do the first, the second Saturday of the month then move it to the first Saturday of the month cos you wouldn’t have 30 days clearance. E: Right. That’s gonna have a massive effect isn’t it on how many people come to Whitley Bay tourism-wise isn’t it? J: Well yeah, you know everyone puttin their opinion towards the council and the council did a secret vote on it, it was er, from what I can gather there’s a guy comes in called, er, Jeremy and he was er, E: Jeremy, I know Jeremy. J: He was fightin it all the way and the council with it and what actually happened in the meetin was they were decidin how many premises were to do it and y’know and what the fees would be but then there was a lady councillor who asked for a secret vote on to whether y’know put the opinion for an outright ban and the council has voted in secret for an outright ban on strippin in Whitley Bay, no Tyne and Wear isn’t it, Tyneside. E: ok. J: So that’s where we were at. There was no, y’know, no real public consultation,

they just decided one night on a Tuesday meetin whenever it was that they’d just have a vote and ban it, and they did, and it was banned, hehe. But I think that’s the way they operate, the council operates, they just do what they want when they want. E: U huh, what effect do you think this will have on Whitley Bay? J: It’s a detrimental effect, I imagine it’ll probably close, well, certainly they’ll close Whitley Bay down as a like you know a resort and such, but the police have indicated that they don’t want any stag and hen parties, they want to knock that totally on the head and go back to like a British family seaside resort but they’re not prepared to put any money or anythin in, the emphasis is on the businesses to do that. E: That’s kind of unfair I think. Yeah. So do you run a pub now, a venue in Whitley Bay? J: Aye, the Old Whistler, and I have the pub next door which we both do for years you know the Saturday afternoon’s entertainment so we’ll both be hit by the new regulations as such. E: I don’t suppose, would you be willing for me to maybe film at all the venue, and would you maybe be willing to be interviewed about this, about what’s happening in Whitley Bay? It could be anonymous so you wouldn’t be recognisable necessarily, it could just be your voice, or it could just be that you know I interview you and then get somebody 188

else like you know an actor to read out what you said so it wouldn’t have to be recognisably you. J: I’d like to, but you probably know we got hit by the police erm, last year, erm, and we got taken to court over the dancers and basically we didn’t break any laws, we didn’t break any of our license conditions but what happened was because we had strippers dancin, they said due to them bein strippin, they whipped the crowd up into such heightened sexual tension that there was a real risk that they could leave the premises and rape people on the pavement outside, so we got a load of restrictions put on us for that, so I don’t know whether interviewin me would be a good idea for me because the police would probably know where it’s come from and they probably wouldn’t take it too kindly, they’d probably try and go for me again. E: Right, yeah, no, I understand that, that’s fine. To be honest I used to be a dancer myself and the reason I’m doing this is more kind of y’know, I did it for years, and it’s more just to make sense of something and also I think it’s interesting because I’ve worked in Brighton, worked in London and I’ve worked all over the country and I’ve worked all over Europe and nowhere is like the North East, nowhere has the same kind of setup and I think it’s interesting and my reason for doing a documentary is to kind of show, that. You know like it’s not because I want to, you know sensationalise anything or make anybody look bad, it’s just because I

think it’s like a piece of really interesting cultural history in a way and so it’s good to have a record of it which is why I’m doing it really. J: Aye come down n film, just come in and ask for John and we’ll set you up wit the lasses, you can film, have a walk about E: Mmhmm, oh that would be fantastic. So would you mind if I came down this Saturday then? That would be brilliant, cool. What’s your name? John *****? I’m Elisabeth but I used to go by the name of Lexy and I did dance in The Whistler a few times. Which is why I was trying to remember, it wasn’t that long since the last time I worked, I used to work at Envy when it was down on the seafront and I was just trying my best, I was just racking my brains because it’s been such a long time since I’ve done it and I was just racking my brains for names of places and I remembered the Whistler. J: (inaudible) E: Has it? OK. Right. OK. Mmhmm. That would be brilliant. That would be great, because I kind of, I’ve already got some amazing interviews, I’m really lucky, I’ve managed to get in touch with women who were doing it back in like the late 70s and early 80s so I’ve got a lot of like, a lot of women’s opinions, older women, but it would be interesting to hear from any customers who wouldn’t mind saying a few words you know, that kind of thing is really good cos it kind of puts it, it’s less just one sided you know, get a rounded view, so that would be really good. In that

case I’ll come down Saturday. What kind of time does it all kick off? J: (inaudible) E: OK, cool. Mmhmm. OK, cool, that’s great. OK, see you Saturday John take care, OK, byebye.

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Photographs from visit to JJ’s Bar, 28/01/2012 190

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