The first thing to say is that the Soho Society Club is one of the most wonderful places I’ve ever visited. It’s a charming bookshop and gallery, arranged to look and feel like a bohemian sitting room, and boasts a lovely bar area, with an equally lovely bartender Alex, who makes a killer Margarita. By the end of the evening, I had fallen in love with Alex.
The evening kicked off with an erotic poetry reading, with poems by e.e. cummings, W.H. Auden and John Dunne, each one outdoing the others in their metaphors for erections (“Whenever he says ‘stand’, he means ‘cockstand’, which means ‘erection’ ”). After a heated debate about whether A Day for a Lay was Auden’s finest work, or just sloppy rhyming couplets, we retreated to the basement for Cherry Bakewell’s corset tight-lacing demonstration, and ate chocolate corsets. They truly do take four inches off your waist! (The corsets, not the chocolates sadly.) My enthusiasm faded slightly when I found out that a good corset can cost over £100.
The guest for the evening, Rebecca Chance, bestselling author of Killer Heels , read one of the saucier extracts from her latest book Bad Angels before we settled down for our serious book discussion: which hero from the classics would you do?
The theme for the evening was “The Sexy Classics”, so we gathered up our Top Trump cards (adorned with the faces of heroes such as Mr Darcy, in both his Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen incarnations, Tom Hardy’s Heathcliff, Hugh Grant’s Edwards Ferrars and Eddie Redmayne’s Angel Clare), swapping where appropriate, and settled down for a heated debate about who we’d…you know. I chose the oft-ignored Mr Bingley. Sometimes you just want something simple, and as we all acknowledged, wouldn’t conversation with Mr Darcy dry out rather quickly?
At some point, we all ordered in more cocktails, and the debate became a simple, good natured chat. Whilst we occasionally did debate the relevance of EL James versus that of Anais Nin (Nin trumps James every time), it was mostly a nice old natter about where to get the best curry in Wandsworth Road. And reading the Confessions book. The Confessions book? An innocuous notebook left out for people to write their sexy confessions in. These ranged from the funny to the sexy to the just plain odd. (“On the day of Princess Di’s funeral, I was having phone sex with a random Brummie I met on the internet”)
I will definitely be attending the Mucky Book Club again, this time armed with a corset and a copy of Judy Blume’s Forever . I want to see everyone again, give feedback on that Portuguese restaurant, sample more of the lovely Alex’s cocktails and most importantly ensure that nobody guesses my confession!
The next Mucky Book Club takes place at the Soho Society Club on the last Thursday of the month at 7.30pm. The theme of the next meeting will be Teenage Kicks.
The Mucky Book Club is an online reading group for people who like great books with saucy bits in them. Our mission is to share books that turn us on! Expect quality over quantity, and plenty of hot-under-the-collar debate. Run by Betty Herbert, who blogs about her project to re-seduce her husband at www.52Seductions.com