Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey

I’m interested in the phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey and the million inches of column space it has generated (and sales!).  I’m also a little bemused.  Most of my female friends tell me it is a compelling read. 

I remember way back in the 1980s when a film called Nine and a Half Weeks was released and a certain amount of notoriety surrounded it.  I was studying for a degree at Sussex University at the time and wrote a thesis on the issues that the film raised and the ethics of censorship.  The film enraged many feminists who picketed outside the Duke of York’s cinema in Brighton where the film was to be shown.  The story, reportedly true, charted the brief but intense relationship between a young woman who allows herself to be dominated sexually by an enigmatic businessman, and she explores her submissive tendencies to her limits. A bit like Story of O, which is also a favourite (although the outcome is different).  This basic idea has been explored repeatedly in literature and isn’t new.  It’s a concept that is a massive turn on for many people – men and women.

I read Nine and a Half Weeks and enjoyed the direct, no-nonsense and almost clinical style.  It was a short book and a quick and, for me, sexy read.  I hated the film (directed by Adrian Lyne and starring the badly cast Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke) which was a pale shadow of the book, ducking most of the SM aspects.  I was disappointed.   Undoubtedly there will be a Hollywood film version of Fifty Shades and it will be interesting to see who will direct and star – and whether  or not it will be true to the book.

I’ve only got as far as Chapter 2 of Fifty Shades so I don’t feel in a position to comment on it yet.  Watch this space....

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