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Hopeless hype

We are nine days away from the outdated annual ritual of Valentine’s Day – and before anyone suggests it, my somewhat jaundiced view of the tradition has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the last time my husband last ‘made a meal of it’ (literally or otherwise) was so long ago that I can still remember – with an all-too-vivid clarity – Joe Dolce’s Shaddap You Face (which reached No 1 in the UK chart exactly 34 years ago this month) playing in the background of Chester’s Burger Bar in Kingston as my beloved dropped to his knees in the aisle  and proposed to me.

The news that this year things in Britain – and indeed perhaps the rest of the world – will be significantly different because of the premiere of the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, based upon the trilogy of book by E.L. James, has made me smile.

Apparently, hordes of women are block-booking cinemas in advance and an industry spokesman has estimated that 80% of audiences in Britain on the movie’s first night will be female. I guess when E.L. James received reports that her books had sold in excess of 100 million copies translated into 50 languages, she must have realised she had hit a chord with her gender and thence unlimited commercial success.

Nice if you can get it.

On the occasions that Fifty Shades has come up in conversations with my girlfriends, most of who are connected with the print press in some form or another, there are two reactions that come to the fore, even with me. Firstly – and inevitably – a defensive sneer or two at the rather inane concept of the Fifty Shades set-up and the quality of the writing. But then, secondly, a wistful whiff of envy in La James’s direction … neatly summed up by a sigh effectively signalling “Why couldn’t I have thought of doing that first?”

Call me a cynical dried-out old broad if you will, but the one thing I’m positively convinced of is that – for all the hype about the movie (20% of it being sex scenes, ‘Mummy porn’, and the hottest thing since sliced bread) – it’s going to be a real disappointment for real aficionados of BSDM.

I wait to be proved wrong, but my penny to a pound says it’s going to be twee, ‘comfortable’, minimally titillating … and not at all erotic.




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About Jane Shillingford

Jane spent the bulk of her career working on women’s magazines. Now retired and living on the south coast, she has no regrets and 'would do it all again'. More Posts