I've been reading Belle De jour - The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl.
If you're a blogger, you're probably familiar with this. Belle is the nom de plume of a high-class call girl in London, and she caused something of a stir about a year ago with her blog, which won a Guardian web award in 2003 and had something like 15,000 hits every day (yeah - read that and weep, so-called internet celebrity Statue John). It seemed hard to believe that it was real - apart from anything else it was beautifully written - and there was a lot of speculation about whether it was a hoax, and who the real author was (the smart money was apparently on someone from the media world trying to prove a point). The inevitable six-figure book contract followed, and the blog closed its doors in September 2004 (although I see that she is back - the girl's got a book to plug, after all).
I picked the book up yesterday, and it's good. It's been tweaked a bit from its original format, but still appears in the form of chronological diary entries, and is very readable indeed. Whether it is real or not is pretty much irrelevant to my enjoyment, but I choose to believe that it is. It is certainly written with real style, but Belle tells us that she is a graduate, and since when has good writing been the sole preserve of people working in the media?
It is not an especially erotic book though, for all that it describes the day-to-day life of a sex worker. I think the attraction lies with the narrator herself - she's sparky, honest, witty and clearly intelligent. She's sort of like a modern day equivalent of one of Jane Austen's heroines.... sort of....
My favourite bit so far:
"Someone asked recently what services I would be unwilling to provide, and I was unable to think of anything good. Now 'imitating a stick-insect Freddie Mercury from Lowestoft' has become the first entry on the list."
Yup. Our Belle is evidently not a fan of The Darkness. Apparently:
"...anyone who looks like the bastard child of Robert Plant and Steve Perry via Austen Powers's dentist has no business as a rock god".
The Darkness immortalised (if not exactly eulogised) in print!
Justin Hawkins - you are most definitely not worthy.
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