Food, Film, and Fornication

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Annie pretended that she didn’t know what she was doing. But she did. She knew exactly what she was doing.

She pretended that she was just sitting there, in the little raised courtyard in her cousin’s secluded North London back garden, with her skirt hitched up, getting some late-summer sun on her still-shapely legs. But she had placed her chair with great deliberation: facing the sun, but also facing me. Her knees were spread slightly. And it was clear that she wasn’t wearing any knickers.

‘You know … there are people who would pay good money for that view,’ I said.

‘Oh? Which view is that?’ she asked, looking around the garden with an expression of mock innocence.

Annie and I had first met when we were at university. She was a bit older than most of us and she was reading for a degree in anthropology. I was studying Modern English Literature.

One of my fellow English Lit students was a chap named Tom Urquhart. Tom was addicted to the atmosphere of pubs. He was never happier than when he was in ‘a proper pub’. But, unfortunately, he was allergic to alcohol. A swift half of gnat’s piss and he would almost immediately start throwing up. And so the rest of us kept Tom plied with lemon squash and he became our designated sober driver.

One of the pubs that we might not have discovered without Tom was The Red Fox. Situated two or three miles out of town, The Fox had probably started out as a coaching inn. From the outside, it looked quite big. But, once you were inside, it was … well … snug. Thinking about it after we had been there a couple of times, I decided that quite a lot of the building must have been taken up by the landlord’s accommodation.

I can’t remember why, but for a while there Wednesday became our default Fox night. After we had been there three or four times, Karl, the German bloke who ran the place, didn’t even ask us what we wanted to drink. He just pulled pints of Best Bitter for the three or four drinkers among us, and poured a long lemon squash and soda for Tom, our driver.

And then one night, just as we were leaving, Karl said: ‘You come Friday.’


‘Friday. Entertainment.’ And he sort of nodded and winked.

‘Oh? What sort of entertainment?’

He frowned. ‘Gentlemen’s.’ And he nodded again. ‘But ladies’ too,’ he added hastily.

OK. Why not?

When we arrived at The Fox on Friday night, the carpark was surprisingly full. But when we got inside, it was just the usual eight or ten regulars. At least Karl seemed happy to see us. ‘You are coming. Good,’ he said. And he nodded approvingly.

Disappointingly, there was no sign of a band or anything. ‘Yep. We are here,’ I said. ‘So, when does the entertainment start?’

‘Already. We are walking. This way.’

We followed Karl back outside and around to the rear of the pub where there was a door marked Private. Inside, there was a sort of a coatroom presided over by a man-mountain and another door marked with a small sign saying: The Pink Vixen.

Karl held out his hand. ‘Five pounds. Each one,’ he said. ‘And the first drink is the house.’

Five pounds was quite a lot in those days – especially if you were an impoverished student. But we gathered up 25 quid – some of it in loose change – and handed it over.

‘You enjoy,’ Karl said. And he opened the door marked The Pink Vixen and ushered us through.

On the other side of the door there was a large room with maybe a dozen tables. Running between the tables there was a sort of meandering catwalk with a couple of dance poles. A quick glance around the tables explained why the carpark had been so full. There must have been a good 40 or so people. Mainly men. But a few women too.

A provocatively half-dressed woman in her mid-40s showed us to a table right beside the catwalk and asked us what we would like to drink. It took a moment or two to convince her that Tom wanted plain lemon squash.

‘A bit of gin? A bit of vodka with it perhaps? Some white rum?’

‘No alcohol,’ Tom said. ‘It makes me sick.’

‘I know what you mean,’ the woman said sadly. And maybe she did.

I had heard about strip clubs and the like, and I had seen them in movies, but I had never seen one in real life. And I certainly never expected to find one in the back of a country pub.

Our waitress had just returned with our tray of drinks when a man in an old fashioned dinner jacket appeared from behind a curtain at one end of the catwalk. ‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ he shouted confidently, ‘please put your hands together and give a big Pink Vixen welcome to … drumroll, please … The Duchess of Little Dorchester.’

‘The Duchess’ was a rather well-built woman of about 50. She was wearing a conservatively-styled mid-grey suit over a paler grey blouse with a red scarf at her throat. I could picture her as the chairperson of the Ladies Auxiliary Committee at some local parish.

She walked slowly along the catwalk, scanning the crowd, sternly, before stopping near one table and bending over to provocatively straighten internet casino the seams of her stockings. ‘Jimmy Ashfield,’ she said as she stood up again, ‘does your mother know that you are out tonight?’ And the audience, clearly there to be titillated and entertained, laughed loudly. Slowly, The Duchess unbuttoned her suit jacket, removed it, and handed it to the blushing Jimmy. ‘Here, make yourself useful, lad,’ The Duchess said.

As I said, I had never been to a strip show before. But I sort of knew – instinctively – that The Pink Vixen show was ‘different’ to say the least.

For the next four or five minutes, The Duchess strode up and down the catwalk, telling surprisingly risqué jokes, while removing items of clothing. And then, when she was down to just a full-length open corselet and her stockings, she returned to the table where the hapless Jimmy Ashfield was seated and raised the hem of her corselet to give Jimmy a brief eyeful of her hairy snatch. ‘There you are, Jimmy,’ she said. ‘Something to think about while you are working your todger later tonight.’

‘Thank you, Duchess,’ the man in the DJ said. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, a big hand for Her Grace, The Duchess of Little Dorchester.’

‘I’ll be happy to give her a big hand,’ some wag in the audience called out.

‘You’ll need to wash it first,’ the man in the DJ said. ‘Royalty is very particular in these matters.’

And, for the next three-quarters of an hour or so, that’s how the show went: with women of a certain age, wearing exaggerated stage makeup, strutting the catwalk, telling jokes that might make a sailor blush, and removing various items of their clothing. Was it entertaining? Yes it was. Was it sexy? In a strange way … yes it was. Was it surprising? Oh, totally. At least it was totally surprising to me and my fellow Eng Lit students. We had been expecting a so-so pub band. And maybe a singer.

The last ‘act’ in the set was introduced as ‘The Pink Vixen’s very own Princess Anne’. She was a little younger than the other women: thirtyish rather than fiftyish. With her stage makeup, it was difficult to tell exactly. And, amazingly, she managed to tease the audience without removing a single item of clothing – although, as she made full use of the catwalk and both poles, she did provide the audience with plenty of fleeting glimpses of what was under her regal robe.

I think it must have been Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week. I was in the library. In those early internet days, we Eng Lit students spent a lot of time in the library. I think that I was checking references in Finnegans Wake. There was a woman sitting across the table from me who looked rather familiar. She wasn’t one of my lot. I was pretty sure of that. But she did look familiar. And then it struck me.

‘You’re Princess Anne,’ I said.

She looked up from whatever it was that she was reading. ‘I beg your pardon?’

‘You’re Princess Anne,’ I said. ‘Without the stage makeup – obviously.’

She frowned. But she also smiled. ‘I wish,’ she said. ‘Having the Queen as my mother. And people to look after my horses. Not that I have any horses. But I suppose that I would have a few horses if my mother was the Queen, wouldn’t I?’

‘From The Red Fox?’ I said.

She shook her head.

‘Well … The Pink Vixen.’

Her forehead creased. ‘The Pink Vixen? It sounds rather like a character from a comic book,’ she said.

‘No. The Pink Vixen. The room at the back of The Red Fox.’

‘Have you been smoking?’ she asked. ‘Have you been at the weed? Don’t get me wrong … I don’t mind if you have. It’s your business. But maybe you should go and have a bit of a lie down.’

‘Last Friday. You were one of the women,’ I said. ‘Catwalk? Pole dancing? Strip tease? Although you didn’t actually strip, did you?’

She smiled. ‘I do sometimes take my clothes off,’ she said. ‘To have a shower. You know. Is there a shower at this orange place?’

‘Pink,’ I said. ‘And, no. At least … there could be. I’m not sure.’

I looked at her again. It was her. It had to be her. ‘You had your hair down,’ I said.

She nodded. ‘I do like to let my hair down from time to time. Especially on my birthday. Have a few sherbets. Let my hair down. Kick up my heels. You know how it is.’

‘Shoulder to the wheel?’ I suggested, trying to enter into the spirit.

‘Oh, no. Not on my birthday,’ she said. ‘Well, not if I can avoid it anyway. Birthdays should be play days.’

‘So you’re not Princess Anne?’ I said.

‘Just a humble commoner, I’m afraid. And you?’

‘Jeremy,’ I said.

‘And are you here for educational purposes, Jeremy? Or are you a foreign spy sent to winkle out vulnerable members of the British royal family?’

‘I’m reading for a degree in Modern English Literature,’ I said.

‘Ah, yes. James Joyce. Virginia Woolf. Sam Beckett. And let’s not forget T S Eliot and Luigi Pirandello.’

‘I try not to,’ I assured her.

For a moment or two she just looked across the table at me. And canlı poker oyna then she said: ‘And tell me, Jeremy, have you done enough work for today?’

‘I’ve … made some progress,’ I said. ‘Possibly not as much as I should have. But, on the other hand, probably more than I expected to.’

She nodded. ‘Good. Then perhaps we could go and share a glass of ginger beer.’

‘Ginger beer? A tempting thought,’ I said. ‘Although you still haven’t told me your name.’

‘You may call me Annie,’ she said.

‘Ha! So you are Princess Anne.’

Annie looked at me with one of those expressions that says: What kind of an idiot are you? And then she said: ‘If I was Princess Anne, do you think that I would really be inviting you to call me Annie?’

‘You could be double bluffing,’ I said.

Annie closed her book. ‘Queen’s Head?’ she said. ‘Or The Slug and Lettuce? You can choose. The first round’s on me.’

At The Slug and Lettuce, Annie went up to the bar and ordered a ginger beer and a vodka on the rocks. ‘Are you going to join me?’ she asked. ‘Or would you like something else?’

‘Ginger beer? Why not? I haven’t had ginger beer since I was about ten.’

Annie ordered another ginger beer. And another vodka on the rocks. And then she took a large sip from one of the glasses of ginger beer – and poured the vodka on the rocks into the space she had created.

‘Hey, we’re not allowed to serve beers with spirits in them,’ the barman said.

‘And you didn’t,’ Annie assured him.

‘And you’re not allowed to mix them.’

‘But I did,’ Annie pointed out. And she took a gulp out of my glass of ginger beer and topped it with the vodka on the rocks.

‘That’s your last one,’ the nervous barman said.

‘Well see,’ Annie told him.

I liked Annie.

‘Does this have a name?’ I asked.

‘Sometimes known as a Moscow Mule.’

As we sipped our ‘not allowed’ drinks, I discovered that Annie was reading for a masters in anthropology. ‘And what will you do once you have MSc after your name?’ I asked.

‘Hmm … probably try and find a job. You can only put these things off for so long.’ And then, as the level in our glasses dropped, Annie asked if I had eaten recently.

‘Not today,’ I told her. ‘Well … a muesli bar. But I don’t think that counts, does it?’

‘I’ll make us some pasta,’ she said.

‘Shall I get another round in first?’ I asked.

‘No. We can stop at the offy. You can buy a bottle of cheap and cheerful. The pasta will need to rest for a moment or two. And, anyway, I’m not sure that the barman is going to serve us another Mule.’

We stopped off at Oddbins, and then walked the half mile or so to Annie’s place, a neat and tidy granny flat in the back garden of a detached Victorian house.

‘Gosh, this is nice,’ I said. ‘And so tidy. Do you have a cleaning lady?’

Annie laughed. ‘I wish,’ she said. ‘Being so small, if you don’t keep it reasonably tidy, it tends to become a bit chaotic.’

Annie handed me a couple of wine glasses. ‘Your job,’ she said. And then she set about sifting flour onto a large wooden board on the table at the ‘kitchen end’ of the living room and mixing in some egg yolks and a little olive oil. When she had said: ‘I’ll make us some pasta,’ I had expected she meant that she would open a packet of spaghetti. But no; she meant that she would make us some pasta. Mind you, she made the pasta in about the same time that it would have taken me to open a packet. And then she wrapped the ball of dough in some greaseproof paper and placed it in the fridge. ‘Twenty minutes,’ she said.

Then, while the dough rested, she finely chopped a few rashers of bacon and put them into a small pan to fry before spreading them on a piece of paper towel to drain.

Next, the pan was used to fry a finely-diced onion. When the onion was translucent, Annie added sliced mushrooms, fresh thyme leaves, and a generous knob of butter. The aroma was excellent.

Annie glanced at her watch. ‘I think that will do,’ she said. ‘I’m hungry.’ And she removed the dough from the fridge and started to roll it out into a large thin sheet.

At some stage, Annie had also put a pan of water on to boil. And now it was boiling. She salted the water, dusted the rolled pasta with a little flour, rolled it up like a piece of carpet, and then sliced it into wide-ish strips. The pasta went into the boiling water and a slosh of cream went into the mushroom and onion mix. And then Annie was dividing the pasta between two bowls, topping it with the creamy mushroom sauce, and sprinkling the now-crisp bacon bits. ‘Oh … and maybe a bit of fresh basil,’ she said. And she picked a few leaves from a basil plant growing in a pot on the windowsill. It was certainly the best bowl of pasta that I had ever had.

I don’t remember at what point we decided to move into the bedroom. And I certainly don’t remember agreeing to have my wrists tied to the bedhead. Put it down to the bottle of red on top of the Moscow Mules I guess.

I do, however, poker oyna remember – after the knots had been knotted and while Annie was still in the process of removing my trousers – saying that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea. And I remember Annie saying that many things don’t seem such a good idea – the first time. ‘It was a brave man indeed who first ate an oyster,’ she said.

With me both tethered and exposed, Annie set about performing a little erotic ‘dance’ – not unlike the dance which Princess Anne of The Pink Vixen had performed a few days earlier. Much was promised. Little was actually shown. And yet … my cock rose and rose and fattened and, having passed the perpendicular, fell backwards onto my belly.

‘Nice,’ Annie said.

The handjob that Annie gave me was pretty nice too. And, boy, did she know how to make it last?

After Annie had untied me, I gave her a finger fuck – which she seemed to enjoy – and then we both lay there on her bed. I’m not sure what Annie was thinking, but, with my sexual appetite satisfied for the time being, I found my thoughts returning to the pasta with creamy mushroom sauce. ‘That was an excellent supper,’ I said. ‘I think that it was the best pasta I’ve ever had.’

‘It was OK, wasn’t it?’ Annie said. ‘Even if I say so myself. What’s your go-to dish?’

Did I have one? ‘Probably sausages,’ I said.

Annie laughed. ‘Not very ambitious. Unless, of course, you make your sausages from scratch.’

‘From the supermarket,’ I said. And then I said: ‘Although I do sometimes cook spicy chicken thighs.’

‘That sounds more like it,’ Annie said. ‘And what do you serve with these spicy chicken thighs?’

‘Fresh bread. Maybe some roasted potatoes.’

Annie didn’t seem impressed. ‘Not some kind of more colourful vegetable? Not some kind of salad?’

‘I can make a grilled apricot salad,’ I said. ‘You know … Italian style. With rocket and mozzarella.’

Annie nodded. ‘OK,’ she said. ‘I can see that that would work. And how long would it take you to make spicy chicken thighs and a grilled apricot salad? From start to finish.’

‘I don’t know … about an hour,’ I said.

‘In that case you had better be here by about six on Saturday. I like to eat about seven.’

‘This Saturday?’

‘I’ll make it worth your while,’ she said. And she mimed jerking me off. ‘I’ll also supply the wine. What do you suggest? A light red? Perhaps a young merlot? If your chicken is spicy, we probably don’t want anything with too much body, do we?’

I can’t put my finger on precisely why, but Saturday’s supper was almost perfect – once I got over having Annie watch my every move.

‘Chicken thighs are greatly underrated,’ Annie said as she watched me rub them with a paste of lemon juice, oregano, smoked hot paprika, garlic powder, tomato paste, and salt. ‘People tend to go for the breast. But there’s not a lot of flavour in the breast. And it’s easy to overcook. It’s easy to dry it out.’

I didn’t like to tell her that the real reason that I used thighs was because they tended to be the cheapest cut.

After supper – which Annie seemed to really enjoy – she suggested that we watch a film together.

‘OK,’ I said.

‘Are you a Tinto Brass fan?’

I had no idea what a Tinto Brass was. I was familiar with Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin. But Tinto Brass? I hadn’t a clue. An amalgam of brass and tin perhaps?

‘He’s an Italian film maker,’ Annie explained.

‘Oh. OK. Yeah. Why not?’

Annie gathered up her laptop and took a DVD case from her crowded book case. ‘Come on,’ she said. ‘I find Signor Brass’s work is best viewed sans culottes.’

I had a vague idea of what ‘sans culottes’ meant. At least I thought that I did. But I wasn’t sure. Still … I followed Annie into her bedroom and waited while she removed her jeans.

‘Come on,’ she said. ‘You can keep your T-shirt on if you like.’

And so there we were: sitting on Annie’s bed; naked from the waist down; with Annie’s laptop between us; glasses of wine at out elbows; and Mr Brass’s erotic thoughts playing out in full Technicolor. It was in Italian. But there were English subtitles.

‘So, what did you think?’ Annie asked, as the end credits rolled.

‘Very … umm … good,’ I said. ‘Very Italian. Very … umm … erotic. Yes.’

‘I have other examples of his work,’ Annie said. ‘But right now I have the urge to feel you inside me. Are you up for that?’

I just smiled and nodded. I’d been ‘up for it’ since about ten minutes into the film.

After we had ‘gone all the way’ for the first time, we sat there, side by side, and Annie poured the last few dribbles of wine. ‘Yes. I thought that might work,’ she said.

‘The wine?’

‘The fuck.’

‘Oh. Yes. It did, didn’t it?’ I said.

‘The summer break starts at the end of next week,’ Annie said. ‘Are you doing anything?’

‘I’ve got a sort of a job with an architecture magazine.’


‘I expect I’ll just end up making the tea,’ I said. ‘But it’s a job. And they are sort of paying me. You?’

‘I’m going over to France for a week. I’m going to be an extra in a small film. And then I’m coming back to be a tour guide for a month. I’m going to show Americans the sights of the city.’

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