//Steve Jones, Unknown, Alan Jones, Chrissie Hynde, Jordan, Vivienne Westwood. Photo: David Dagley/Rex Features.//
SEX became a magical place. People spent hours there; no one wanted to leave. In it, I created a feeling that was both euphoric and hysterical. You felt an enormous range of possibilities – that whatever was happening couldn’t be predicted, but it was a movement toward a place unknown.
Malcolm McLaren, Musical Paintings [JRP Ringier 2008].
One of the most prescient pieces published about 430 King’s Road in its incarnation as SEX appeared, appropriately enough, in sex magazine Forum in the mid-70s.
And, after more than 35 years, I’ve tracked down the writer and the photographer who, for the first time anywhere, recall the revolutionary retail environment and the sexually-charged photo-shoot featuring future Sex Pistol Steve Jones, performer Chrissie Hynde, radical shop assistant Jordan, film-writer Alan Jones and, of course, Vivienne Westwood.
The feature appeared in the June 1976 issue of the magazine and was written by expat American Forum staffer Len Richmond, later to pen hit British sitcom Agony and Three’s Company (the US version of the UK’s Man About The House). The photographer was Chelsea-based freelance David Dagley.
“In 1973 I’d arrived in the UK from San Francisco with 300 bucks in my pocket and found that I could work as a journalist because nobody cared about whether I had a green card,” explains Richmond down the line from Los Angeles.
Within a couple of years Richmond had been taken on by Phillip Hodson and his wife Anne Hooper at Forum, a monthly pocket-sized publication where sexual relations were surveyed in a serious, non-prurient manner.
Ever on the look-out for subject-matter, Richmond was drawn by the giant pink rubber SEX sign which had been erected on the facade of 430 King’s Road the previous autumn. Richmond also had a personal interest, since his mother owned the second-largest manufacturer and wholesaler of sex toys in the US at that time.
“So, you know, always on the look-out for clients for Mom, I thought I would go see these guys,” says Richmond. “In fact they didn’t stock her products, but I realised that it was a great subject for Forum.
“The leather gear interested me; as a gay guy from San Francisco I was into leather, though I thought the rubber stuff was curious. I hadn’t really hooked into the British love of rubber, the cutting-off of the air, the really constrictive clothing. It kind of horrified me, to be honest, as liberal as I was. But I saw that the t-shirts with the porn extracts were part of the overall act of rebellion. Whatever they could do to piss off people, they would.”
Richmond also suspected that the rubber-wear was part of the arsenal of provocation. “It was another way to say: ‘Nothing bothers us. We’re going to throw this in your face and get a reaction from you.’ I suppose the Sex Pistols were a natural progression of that attitude.”
Richmond distinctly remembers Malcolm McLaren being present on the visit in spring 1976, though he took a back-seat role as Westwood gave the journalist a tour and history of their residence at the site, laced with polemic.
Short, very adult stories, brought to you by our team of contributors. This edition: Under the Table – Josephine’s business meeting takes an unexpected turn…
couple, feet, table, footsie, GETTY
By Leone Ross
Aug 29, 2017
Under the Table is an excerpt from DRAG, in the short story collection, ‘Come Let Us Sing Anyway’
Today I feel like an executive. My hair is scraped off my face and the make-up is flawless. Walking into a classy restaurant, the London sun streams through the French windows, melting the clientele like individual ice cream cakes. I’m wearing a black suit and peach lingerie. My heels are sensible and expensive. Before I leave the office my boss tells me to use everything I’ve got. He winks. He thinks he’s a feminist. But he is not above pimping me out.
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Facts and figures flow from my fingertips. I am articulate and assertive. But underneath is so much more: an ambitious twenty-five year-old who lies in the bath and dreams of power. Rubber duck in the bath tells me I should have a flat on the Riviera, a penthouse in New York. Bubbles promise me a walk-in closet of designer clothes, three personal assistants and gleaming, lavish technology. I am a multi- million deal.
‘Josephine…’ I love his voice. I look up. He’s in a sharp, dark suit, impeccably tailored. Women’s heads swivel. Blond bitches, I think, and clutch my glass of water. He scoops condensation from the edge and rubs it between his fingers. I can’t stop looking. I remember his hands on me.
‘Long time no see,’ I say.
‘So?’ he says. Climbs right in next to me.
‘You can’t stay.’ My thighs are humming. ‘I have a business meeting.’
He introduces himself as my colleague when the client arrives.
Erotic Fiction: The Prize
The client orders tea and discusses cost-effectiveness, the implications of visual versus voice-over, whether we need a celebrity or normal actresses. He says there are other ad companies waiting in line. I nod. Michael puts his hand up my skirt. My knees snap together. He is cupping me, like I’m an exquisite thing.
He uses one long, insistent finger. Rubs just above my clitoris. I twitch, trying to edge him nearer the brink of me. Inside I’m an empty roll of wet muscles. I could play him like a flute, if only we were far from here. Another finger strokes my pubic hair. I wonder if the teasing is hesitance or deliberate, then suck in my breath as he hits the mark, just to show off. Deliberate then. Back to the top. Then down again. Almost imperceptible circles. I try to slow my breathing.
‘You see, we think that speaking to women in a real and honest way will knock the socks off the competition,’ says the client. A single crumb sits on his neat moustache. I want to lick it off. I want to grab his head and push it between my breasts and scream. I want them both to fuck me across the table.
Michael’s finger eases inside me, taking all the daylight in the room with it.
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‘…perhaps animation…’ says the client.
‘Mmm-hmmm,’ I say.
Michael’s finger eases inside me, taking all the daylight in the room with it. I am sitting in a pool of summer. He puts a thumb back on my clit. I push my hips forward. Tiny, tight, urgent, circles.
‘Could you, um, order some coffee?’ I say to the client.
He turns and signals for the waitress. Michael pulls his hand out of me and licks his fingers. One. Two. Three. I hide a groan in my napkin. The client turns back and smiles at me, clueless. My lips are stuck to my teeth. Michael asks him a question. I can’t hear him. I’ve gone deaf. The client leans forward. Michael leans towards him so he can put his fingers back under the table, twiddling me, all in one motion. I sip scalding coffee. Burn my tongue. Put my hand on top of Michael’s hand. Press him into me.
‘Harder…’ I say.
‘Pardon?’ says the client.
‘It must be hard to… deal with established competitors. It must get harder every day. Harder and harder.’
‘Ah,’ says the client.
Erotic Fiction: Peek Hour
I want to close my eyes. I can feel my orgasm tickling the base of my spine. I’m talking and talking and the words are scrabble squares on a board: meaningless, but full of potential. Michael puts his hand on my inner thigh and pushes my legs as wide as they can go. Grasps my panties and pushes them roughly aside. I can hear a rip. He pushes something small and cold up me. My hand on the table goes into involuntary spasm. Michael makes me touch myself with my other hand. Neither of us have taken our eyes off the chattering client; thank God he is the pontificating kind. Michael bites his bottom lip as our entwined fingers touch the tiny globes he’s pushed inside me. They feel as if they should be silver. We stir them around. My hand is frothy. They tinkle, I’m sure. The client is talking. Michael leans into my shoulder.
‘Do it,’ he says.
My hips buck. I’m beyond speech. All I can do is breathe with the waves. My breasts are spilling out of my bra, they’re so swollen. He’s rubbing my clit the way I like it, hard and God, so dirty, and the balls are revolving, tinkling, pulling it all out of me. I surrender, lean forward into the table cloth.
‘Are you alright?’ the men chorus above me. The client is calling, ‘Waitress, Waitress, she’s having a fit.’ Everybody around me is looking afraid and concerned: ‘Is she choking? Someone do the Heimlich thingie’ and Michael is all the way up in my face, one arm round my shoulder. ‘Jo, you ok? Say something,’ but there’s a twinkle in his eye and I can tell what he’s thinking: Be quick, Josephine, be cost effective, cum for me, before the place erupts. I’m going to have to take my hand away. Cum for me… and then I’m screaming. I can’t believe I’m doing it. There’s something so powerful about it all. I’m cumming in their faces and nobody knows, my nails are scraping the tablecloth and someone cries out as the coffee cup shatters on the floor and I’m trying not to laugh, thank Christ for that thick table-cloth, you know those slow wave, post-cum jerks that feel like aftershocks and I’ve put my fingernails through the flesh between Michael’s neck and his shoulder and I can tell it really hurts him, but he’s trying not to laugh, and even as the waitress rushes over he coaxes out another tiny, extra orgasm, ’cause he’s greedy like that, and then it’s done and he’s wiping his hand all over his face, so cool, like all he’s been is stressed for my health and I’m like fuck, fuck, I want to laugh, that’s all I feel like doing: laughing.
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