Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lost Girls

It's not every day I can say I spent 50 quid on pornography, but in buying Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls the other day, that's exactly what I did. Three hardback volumes of it, in a slipcase. A Tijuana Bible it ain't. Due to a copyright wrangle (one of the characters is from Peter Pan, whose copyright expired on January 1st this year) it's only recently become available on this side of the Atlantic.

Lost Girls is Moore's self-declared attempt to produce intelligent porn, and there's no doubt that it's hardcore - pretty much every page contains explicit sex, quite a bit of it illegal (and the rest oughtta be! I thangyew). The scenario presents us with three famous fictional women from fantasy novels - Alice (of Wonderland), Wendy (of Never Never Land) and Dorothy (of Oz), who meet in a hotel in Europoe on the eve of the First World war, and proceed to tell each other their stories while engaging in all manner of congress*. Thus the three tales from which the characters originate are recast as Freudian metaphors for sexual awakening. Moore is certainly not the first to consider these works of children's literature in this way, but to be quite so, um, uncensored about it is, er, a novelty.

This is by a country mile the most controversial thing Moore's ever put his name to, but it's a serious, thought-provoking book that argues passionately for freedom of thought and expression - only madmen and magistrates can't distinguish between fantasy and the real world, he states - and makes clear in its closing pages that there are real obscenities in the world that make a mockery of our uncomfortable reaction to sexual fantasy.

Whether it really works as pornography, however, is open to question. For all the organs shown in action, Lost Girls is a cerebral work, concerned with how society polices our thoughts and actions, with how we define the limits to what we consider acceptable or immoral, with the sexual undertow that exists within all human endeavour. It's hard to imagine it'll be very useful to anyone who just wants a quick one off the wrist.

Here's an interview with affable Al on Lost Girls:
Part One
Part Two

And here's the great man himself speaking on the subject in moving image form:

*For the musos out there, there's a thoroughly entertaining and improbable threesome that takes place during the first performance of The Rite of Spring, all the rest of the audience presumably too busy being horrified by the action on stage to notice the three women shagging in the stalls.

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