Thursday 26 July 2012, 11:15
"Don't bite... savour it, roll it around in your mouth. There are places on the tongue that taste only sweet and places that taste only bitter or salt or sour... Caress it in your mouth, and you'll be amazed at what you taste..."
That is from The Initiation Of Ms Holly by KD Grace, an erotic novel. Mummy porn. It was published by Xcite, an imprint of Accent Books, based at The Old School, Bedlinog, Glamorgan.
I've always liked women's fiction. It tends to be more psychologically-acute, probes deeper into emotions. And women writers, generally, are better at sex. Less self-conscious.
By the time you read this, probably something like one in three women in Wales will have read the so-called 'mummy-porn' sado-masochistic, bondage shlockbuster Fifty Shades Of Grey by EL James.
I spent some time in a branch of Waterstones the other week. There was a table, right at the entrance, piled high with copies of Fifty Shades and its two sequels. And in they all came. The mummy bit is right - many of them had pushchairs. You kept hearing them actually saying 'Oh, everybody's reading it...' which eventually began to sound like baa, baa...
After a while, I felt like torching the pile. But in the end I did what everybody else apparently was doing.
I read it.
And, you know, it wasn't as badly-written as I'd been led to expect.
I mean, it isn't well-written - the the hero, or 'dominant', Christian Grey, billionaire owner of the Red Room of Pain, talks like an alien in an old SF movie, and every few pages the narrator or 'submissive', Anastasia, exclaims: "holy crap!"
It's interesting that the language doesn't get much stronger than that. Here's a woman who gives you hundreds of pages of hot bondage, and she's a prude about talking dirty.
There are no such inhibitions at Xcite - "best erotic book brand, 2010". Yes, there really was mummy porn before Shades but, on Sunday's Phil The Shelf, Accent and Xcite proprietor Hazel Cushion explains how EL James has opened up a whole new.... Oh hell, it's very difficult to write a sentence about mummy porn without falling into a pit of double-entendres, but you get the idea: authors like Xcite star KD Grace have, um, finally come into their own.
We talk to KD (really name, er, Kathy Dickie) about Ms Holly and her adventures in an up-market sex club, appropriately called The Mount. Also the new genre of paranormal erotics, which features people having orgiastic sex with ghosts... possibly 50 shades, one after the other.
At this point, you should know that what Ms Holly is rolling around in her mouth at the top of this column is in fact a chocolate truffle. In a startling opening scene, KD Grace describes how a woman and a man can enjoy the same chocolate truffle in the dark. It's not for the squeamish, but actually more imaginative than anything in Fifty Shades.
If there is anything slightly disturbing about this phenomenon it's the idea of mature women sharing sticky passages from erotic novels in the way school kids used to do in the cloakroom... that was in the days before kids actually started having sex in the cloakroom.
For the publishing industry, what it signifies is the end of chicklit, the genre first aimed at socially and sexually aware young women in the 1990s.
The Queen of chicklit was Jane Green, whom we also meet in Sunday's programme. Now middle aged and living in the US with her second husband, Jane is not impressed by the new erotica. Her latest novel, The Patchwork Marriage, is fully-rounded in a way Fifty Shades doesn't even try to be, dealing in considerable depth with the problems of a woman marrying a man with two daughters, one of whom hates her.
Now that's real pain.
Listen to Phil the Shelf on Sunday from 5pm on BBC Radio Wales.
Wednesday 25 July 2012, 10:26
Thursday 26 July 2012, 10:44