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The top shelf looks rather male-orientated, with only a couple of titles for women, but the Internet is providing an alternative. Words: Deirdre Molloy
LAUNCHED IN A blaze of publicity in 1992. For Women magazine marked a turning point in Britain‘s soft porn industry. Along with two other magazines aimed specifically at women — which have since folded — it provided a graphic emblem of the emerging era of sexual equality.
For Wmnr'n's obvious unique selling point is photographs of men with their kit off in abundance — from sculpted supermodels like Marcus Shenkenberg. as photographed by Bruce Weber and Steven Meisel. to the home- snapped charms of Real Men.
If you thought Glasgow's porn cinemas belong somewhere in its murky past, think again.
Words: Alan Chadwick Illustration: Ross Evans
IT'S 3PM. SATURDAY afternoon in Glasgow. Outside, the streets are buzzing with shoppers desperate for a bargain. Inside Divally’s, a private members' club discreetly situated in the shadow of the St Enoch shopping centre and home to Scotland’s last porno cinema, desperation of a different sort is etched on the faces of the half dozen punters dotted around the bar.
'l’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world,’ mouths the Ginger Spice wannabe in PVC shorts and matching bra as she shakes her booty to Aqua’s mind numbineg catchy ditty before resuming her post serving pints behind the bar.
A small ripple of applause breaks out, before being subsumed into the endless techno beats pumping out from the DJ box. Despite the noise, the bar is eerily silent. Nobody speaks to each other, not even when the latest football scores flash up on the muted TV screen in the corner.
Occasionally, figures emerge from the shadows, making their way to the bar through the double doors leading out to the toilets and Glasgow's last remaining adult cinema. These men prefer the attractions of the ’real thing' as opposed to the unfulfilled promise of the teasing flesh on show in the bar.
14 THE UST 9—22 Jan 1998
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Hardware package: Playgirl's Web site is leading the way for women's porn on the Net
December‘s edition featured an interview with Nicholas Cage. a serious article on America's True Love Waits movement. and regular Agony L'ncle duties performed by a former Chippendale. The first issue sold 4()().()()() copies and monthly sales have settled at about l5().()()() since.
At £5 a head, they at least have opted out of the charade of pretending that the only reason they popped in is for a quick pint. From 11am to 8pm, they can sit in the smoke-filled cinema watching fleshfests until boredom or repetition drives them out into the cold night. Five films are shown continuously, the programme changing three times a week.
All life is here. Young neds in Kappa tracksuits. Suited-up fortysomethings. Which makes the air of lifelessness hanging heavy all the more difficult to bear.
Reader, I feel like a wanker. And the fact I am yards away from big screen bump and grind action isn’t helping any.
Which is a shame. For just as The Battleship Potemki'n belongs on the big screen, so too does the work of fleshmeisters like Russ Meyer or Caligula director Tinto Brass. Only to say so is to mark yourself out as a card carrying member of the dirty mac brigade.
Six blokes watching vids of chicks with dicks having it away with a Great Dane is regarded as a bit of a laugh. Paying to see a film at your local porn cinema automatically means you’re Johnny No Friends with the social skills to match. But, given the choice and lack of stigma attached to it, what would you rather do? Wait until the kids are fast asleep and creep downstairs for your pound of flesh. Or make a detour on your way home from work and still be home in time for tea.
Video, multiplexes and satellite subscriber sex relegated the porn cinema to the sin bin of yesteryear, at least in Scotland. Glasgow’s last up-front XXX moviehouse closed in 1992. Familiar to anyone who went clubbing in the Sub Club during the 80s, the
Reader, l feei like a wanker. And? the fact i am yards away from big screen bump and grind action isn't helping any.
liditor Zak Keir fronts a team of women producing the title under the auspices of Fantasy Publications. ‘lt seemed like an idea whose time had come.’ says Keir. "l‘here had been a shift in attitudes before girl power was a real. conscious thing. (‘hippendales and big
with things like the venues packed with
Grand Central started showing skin flicks in the 60s. It closed in 1966 and reopened in the mid 705, this time under the gurse of the Classic Grand, before being bought over in 1985 and finishing its life as the Canon Grand in 1992. its only serious rival was Sauchiehall Street's La Scala, which closed its doors in 1984.
Divally’s remains the only tangible link with Scotland’s porno past. Kitsch value offshoots such as band promo nights — The Trashcan Sinatras have hired out the cinema — and Glasgow University’s cult film nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays, are increasingly common. But it is as a porn cinema that Divally’s should be up for consideration by the Heritage Scotland culturati of the future.
Should it ever close its doors, at least I’ll be able to tell my grandkids that yes, I did see The Plumber’s Mate on the big screen. And no, I didn’t make my excuses and leave.
a Diva/ly’s, 86 Maxwell Street, Glasgow, 0741 227 4657