Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Mortification of Saint Simone

“I am Simone Saint,” I say, holding my passport open beside my face so that the man at border control can inspect the likeness. I may be keeping a low profile on this trip, but there’s no disguising bone structure like mine, and my dark inward-sloping eyebrows give me a distinctively mischievous look, useful for playing bad girls and dominatrices—my specialties, as it happens. He leans forward and plucks the passport from my hand, which strikes me as rather rude, particularly as this is my first visit to his green and supposedly pleasant land, as the great British poet William Blake would have it. I’m basically an Anglophile, you know, and I was expecting a warmer reception, but apparently the people here don’t recognize a rising star of the adult entertainment industry when they see one. I’ll soon put that right.

After subjecting my documents to a perfunctory examination, the man hands them back with a sullen, “Thank you, madam.” I reward his disobedience with a wink of Palinesque magnitude, which prompts him to lower his eyes in shame; a fitting gesture in the presence of a royal personage like myself. Last year I received the Adult Film Institute’s coveted “Princess of Porn” award, and I still have the diamante tiara—its centerpiece a bejeweled upstanding phallus—to prove it, although AFI rules dictate that I return the item within the next few months, and second terms are unheard of. No matter; I am soon to be Queen, and I intend to make that an appointment for life, or at least until my body passes beyond the reach of cosmetic surgery.

I proceed into the baggage area and retrieve my single small bag. Since I conduct most of my business au naturel, I’m able to travel light; were it not for my bibliomania I’d probably get by with carry-on alone. As it is, I’m invariably accompanied by a selection of fine reading matter, which enables me to work on the improvement of my mind during any passages of downtime that might arise. I transfer the bag from one hand to the other, enjoying the reassuring heft of my portable library, which today includes Philip Absolon’s Cracking the Chastity Belt: Illicit Sexual Practices in Medieval Europe, Celia Steven’s Plato and the Whore, and a collection of anonymous pornographic stories from the early 20th century called Tender Flights. Being a renaissance woman, I’ve undertaken to write a series of erotic fictions for the excellent Throat Magazine, so I’m trying to absorb all the literary smut I can get my hands on; the life of a researcher is painstaking and arduous.

All of which brings me, more or less, to the point: what am I, a respectable porn starlet—that demeaning suffix is soon to be severed once and for all!—from Flatbush, Ohio, doing in a big bad city like London? What could a den of iniquity like this possibly have to offer an honest clean-limbed girl like me? Well, I’m here on business. Movie business. Specifically, I’m here to cast my next film, for which I will be making the transition from performer to writer-director-producer-auteur; from sex puppet to sex puppeteer. My vision is awesome, albeit somewhat elusive: an examination of sexuality across boundaries of geography, culture, class; multiple narrative strands, never quite converging—too easy—but pulling close and resonating in thematic sympathy; a polyglot cast, drawn not from the ranks of my preening pumped-up peers but from all walks of life. I will fill the screen with artists, junkies, bohemians, homemakers and homeless, possessors and dispossessed, plus maybe an aristocrat or two, if I can find any who aren’t over-exposed already, thanks to our celebrity-fixated tabloid culture.

I even thought of inviting my parents to participate, but decided against it; aspiring Freudians everywhere would have seized the chance to besmirch my credentials, writing me up as just another over-reaching Electra. On the contrary, I only want to raise consciousness of the many taboos that still obtain, despite the portentous moralizing of the governing class, whose regular jeremiads regarding our gradual slide down the mountain of virtue into the valley of debauchery—on the toboggan of permissiveness, no doubt—encourage us to cultivate a psychic atmosphere of permanent sexual guilt. “No to guilt!” A political campaign slogan in the making. But first things first; I must be Ozu before I am Obama.

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