Janet van Eeden
2 minute read
2 Oct 2008

A prostitute’s story

Janet van Eeden

JANET VAN EEDEN reviews Red Velvet - Memoirs of a Working Girl by Lisa Lou. Oshun.

Perhaps I’m not the best person to review this book. Ever since my first job where my boss decided I should “supervise” the copying of a video tape I have been bored rigid – pardon the pun – by porn. He’d locked me into a recording studio to watch an hour of close-up sex. He kept asking me if I was enjoying what I saw. I told him I was bored. It was like watching people eating: not something I’d do for fun.

Lisa Lou has written a book describing her exploits as a prostitute in Australia. In the blurb it says the reason she became a prostitute was because she was abused by her father and then her husband. She left her husband and three children and joined a brothel. Intrigued, I expected a bit more than a blow by blow – pardon the pun again – account of her encounters. It’s boring. If Lou had something more to say about her choice of a life of prostitution rather than narrate what happens performing her duties, while vaguely tracing her journey to Denmark, I’d have been interested.

But the life with her husband is never mentioned and neither are her three children. At the end of the book five pages are devoted to her childhood in England, and they feel very much like an afterthought. She meets a rich businessman in Denmark at the end who whisks her away forever to a life of domesticity, but not before they watch Pretty Woman on video.

Stephen Fry compared comedy to erotica in a workshop I attended at the Market Theatre recently. In comedy there are the broad strokes which automatically tickle the funny gland like bottom and fart jokes; these are the equivalent of explicit pornography creating an instinctive response.

Then there are the comical creations of G. K. Chesterton and Dickens which linger in the mind forever; these are the erotic equivalent of Anais Nin’s writings. Unfortunately, Red Velvet is a fart joke.