Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What's the Problem with Lapdancing Clubs?

You may think I have never been to a lap dancing club. Well, you'd be wrong. It was in 1987 and it was called the Landing Strip, located near Detroit Airport. I was on a stag night. Why this personal confession? Because some busybody government minister is trying to restrict them.

Culture Minister Gerry Sutcliffe wants to reclassify lapdancing clubs to put them on a par with sex shops or porno cinemas. OK, perhaps I may not be the best qualified person to make this comment, but I suspect it is one which will resonate with others, but lap dancing clubs have all the sex appeal of a bath of mushy peas. Most women do not view a performance by the Chippendales as a sexual experience at all. Lap dancing clubs or male strip joints are not, as the Minister alleges, "sexual encounter establishments". They are bars which happen to allow naked people to do a bit of gyrating.

Predictably, womens' rights groups have welcomed the move by Gerry Sutcliffe. They will no doubt welcome the fact that if these establishments were shut down, unemployment would rise by a further 5,000 people.

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

"They are bars which happen to allow naked people to do a bit of gyrating."

As you said, Iain, you haven't been to one in a while. Nor have I, but many friends and work colleagues have. Some of them are effectively brothels, with anything on offer if you have the nerve to ask and the right price is paid to the girls and the bouncers. And I'm talking about some of the mainstream names in central London.

Anonymous said...

Don't mean to be flippant, Iain, but you seem nearly as 'away with the fairies' as those theiving barstewards in Parliament.

We have a government

Selling the UK out to the EUSSR

Ignoring a democratic election in Eire

News tonight that half the country won't be able to heat their homes by Christmas (and the other half will be unemployed)

Inflation running rampany whilst the Mr Average Joe is lucky to get a rise at all

42-day detention

Mass DNA swabs kept on government computer files

CCTV's on every street corner

and what you want to talk about is

'Lapdancing Clubs'

Get out of the Westminster bubble, stop talking to the prats you must talk to and speak to Mr Average Joe. You may find out exactly how angry a awful lot of people are getting.

In fact, you may not need to come outside the 'bubble' - Mr Average Joeand his mates might just get together and meet you up in Westminster - in their thousands.

Get talking about the REAL things that matter to people. Or they'll bring the problems to you. Get a life!!!

Mostly Ordinary said...

Why are you surprised? This is a Government after all that wants you to walk pass porn to buy cigarettes in unbranded packages, hidden under the counter.

Sadly this Government appears to have the attention span of a demented goldfish. There next campaign tag line should be "we do stuff" because I get no sense of mission.

bebopper said...

It's up to local people to object and they have in the town where I live when a bar sought a licence. So, no club here and I can't say I'm sorry. They don't exactly add lustre to a community. They belong, if anywhere, to Soho, where groups of drunks pay for women to treat them with contempt.

Diablo said...

A lap dancing club has apparently opened in the North Midlands town where I live - less than a mile away from my house as it happens. (It's actually sited in the old Queen's Head pub that was closed a couple of years ago due to lack of business. There must be a joke there?)

There was a lot of hoo-hah locally about this but the (LibDem) council gave it a licence. I've no idea how well it is doing but as far as I can see if this is what people want to do behind closed doors then it's up to them.

I'm not affected, my neighbours are not affected, nobody is being forced to work there and nobody knows it's there. There are no neon signs, no erotic images, no outward signs about what goes on in there.

As far as I can see, a rather nice old building has been preserved, some people are being employed and the council is getting some extra business rates.

What is the problem?

Tom said...

While you're at it tell them to stop interfering in the prostitution and drugs markets. Free markets are the only thing that's going to get us out of this economic mess. Every socialist nanny state law they pass drags us further down.

Head of Legal said...

I accept the feminist case that these places trade on the exploitation of women, but just as important for me is that fact that they're tacky, and make cities less pleasant places to be. Ronnie Scott's in Birmingham, for instance, closed a few years ago and was replaced by a lapdancing or table or poledancing club (I'm not sure it makes much odds which). I'd much rather it was the other way round, and lapdancing clubs were being replaced by jazz clubs. That'd be a process of civilisation!

It's much the same as the argument about casinos, I reckon.

Plus the other aspect is the licensing law position. I'm no expert on this, but as I understand it it's been made much easier since 1997 to get a license for a lapdancing club, which is why they've spread, and I think it may actually be easier to have premises approved for that than for live music. If that's right (I'm happy to be corrected by someone who knows better) then the playing field at least needs to be levelled.

Anonymous said...

Polly Toynbee generally talks drivel, but her column on the subject raises some interesting points:

"Here is a good example: tomorrow a 10-minute rule bill will protest at the damage done by one piece of Labour law-making. An explosion of lapdancing pubs, bars and clubs has been one bizarre marker of the Labour era. The first opened just before Labour came to power, now there are more than 300 - or that's as many as have been counted. These sleazy strip joints were encouraged by the 2003 Licensing Act, which took them out of the category requiring a special sex encounter licence. All they need now is an ordinary food and drink licence, so local authorities have lost the power to stop lapdancing clubs in prominent and residential areas, however much local people protest. Where councils try to refuse, the courts have had no choice but to decide in favour of the club owners. Some 80 MPs have signed up to tomorrow's bill, bringing indignant tales from their regions.

"Posters advertising Spearmint Rhino and other "gentlemen's clubs" are plastered everywhere as lapdancing has slithered into respectability - suitable for business entertaining and stag nights. Places like Stourbridge in the West Midlands are objecting to a second huge club with 50 dancers and a row of rooms for private "dances". The Fawcett Society's campaign wants local authorities to have the right to control how many venues and where, and to lay down conditions. Journalist Julie Bindel has revealed what happens: women pay to dance there, pay exorbitant sums for minuscule "work clothes" and often pay for air fares from abroad, making them virtual slaves to be slavered over. They need the extra paid for the "dances" they provide in the private VIP booths.

"Porn and prostitution belong in society's private dark-window realm, permitted but not endorsed or publicly displayed. Making lapdancing mainstream breaks that code. Where does it fit into Labour's women's policies? It doesn't do much for the aspirations of girls, or encourage equal treatment. Women are judged, if anything, more crudely now on their bodies and looks than they were. Displaying women as meat spills over into all cultural attitudes, turning the tide back on old battles.

"It was always an odd Labour idea that lapdancing, drink and gambling would regenerate rundown areas. Sixteen large new casinos just gained final parliamentary consent, with scarcely a murmur of protest. Objections evaporated when Gordon Brown axed the one mega-casino as a good first gesture: few realised these 16 others that will still open are all far larger than existing casinos, with ranks of high-stakes 12-pulls-a-minute addictive slot machines."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jun/17/labour

wrinkled weasel said...

From what I am told, they really do offer the whole package if you want it - a lot more than a fanny in your face. I do not object to people doing this. What I object to is the seedy package it comes with - large groups of males who are usually drunk and aggressive,drugs, pimps and exploitation and the cheesy neon signs and the stench of piss and body odour on velour and the vacant stares of a dancer committing sexual fraud. It's the soft underbelly of decadence and it degrades humanity. It's not so much feasting with panthers (as Wilde would say) but snacking with leeches. It's wickedness for people who are otherwise boringly normal. Its just a borrowed thrill and I don't mind folks having sinful thrills, I just object to third rate ones, in my back yard.

I take it you would have no objection to such a place operating next door to you, or would you prefer a library?

Anonymous said...

I believe what the government is trying to do with this is out and out NIMBYism. Reclassifying lapdancing clubs makes it more difficult for them to open in areas, areas which often become 'red light' because of the nature of the businesses there.

I thought the Tories would be all in favour of NIMBYism, they do it for homes and eco-towns, why not get behind something which makes places a bit nicer.

Still, your experience 21 years ago makes you a far greater expert than the government. I'm sure they'll give up now.

verity said...

Iain, of course lapdancing clubs would be a bit boring for you. Your statement that "Most women do not view a performance by the Chippendales as a sexual experience at all" is sorrect. Because it's a bit of a larff - a humour contract between the gay dancers and women.

Straight men, though, are extremely drawn to naked women flinging their legs around. Drawn to the point of parting with large amounts of cash. Which is their business, of course. But the Chippendales are show business. Lap dancing is, indeed, the sex business. Given that a naked woman will sit on your (well, not your, exactly) lap for money.

I don't know why you are so exercised, so to speak, about this.

Anonymous said...

Low pay and poor working conditions are surely matters for everyone? You know about the problems of trafficked girls and women, you should also be concerned about the conditions in lap dancing clubs which currently exist quite legally with very few restrictions. Unfair charges are made against the the girls' income so that a living wage may demand the selling of "extras".

This bill is, as Iain says, about bringing them under more regulation, treating them differently from bingo halls etc. At present councils usually have to grant a licence, even over the objections of residents. Experience shows that residents are quite correct in thinking that the presence of such a club will make the immediate area unsavoury and even a no-go area for women.

sam lewis said...

I don't know why you picked this particular subject for a blog, but you might have guessed the answer.

"Just About Everything" is the answer. Just ask the girls or the husbands or boyfriends of the girls (and they are always girls, not women - just ask yourself what is the average age of the dancers in Stringfellows - women or girls?). Just ask yourself about the kind of men who would want to take you to a Strip Club and then ask yourself why that is considered normal? You’re trying to defend a fetish; a deeply ingrained and pathologically dumb fetish that has grown within a liberalising period.

Would you be happy for your youngest daughter to be dancing in Slough’s Spearmint Rhino?

David Lindsay said...

Thank God that lap-dancing clubs might be reclassified as “sex encounter establishments” (whatever happened to word “brothels”?), making it easier for local authorities to refuse to have them.

The proliferation of these vile establishments, which were unknown in this country a very few years ago, is one of the great social developments of our time.

The surprise that so many of these women come from abroad is not shared by me. Who would want to display herself thus to her local community, when through the door at any time might walk, say, her neighbours, or her daytime workmates, or her brother, or her father?

The lap-dancing club in Durham seems to have gone ahead after all, and the one in Consett has just been granted an extension to five o’clock because the District Council, to its great distress, was unable to find any legal ground for refusing the application.

One of the conditions is increased security, including female security, since the worst trouble is on the “ladies’ nights” featuring male dancers. Some ladies!

Have these male dancers also come from abroad? Or is each of them perfectly happy to display himself thus to his local community, when through the door at any time might walk, say, his neighbours, or his daytime workmates, or his sister, or his mother?

And why on God’s green earth would any person, male or female, wish to look at strippers at five o’clock in the morning?

tapestry said...

No smoking in pubs. No drinking and driving. No dancing girls in bars. What's the point of living? The UK must soon be one of the most miserable countries in the world to live in, if it isn't already.

Move outside the EU and the world's still going on apace - anywhere really. You can smoke, shag, gawp, drink and do whatever comes naturally. Shame about the UK.

Iain of course dancing girls will find admirers. That's the whole point....terribly shocking isn't it....I don't think so. When will the Brits get a life?

Tory in USA said...

"They are bars which happen to allow naked people to do a bit of gyrating."

Over here, this is certainly the case.

Greetings from Portland, Oregon, the strip club capital of America. In a city of around 1 million people, we have more than 50 stip clubs.

And how do I know all this? Yes, I DO frequent them! And yes I am friends with some of the people that work there; bartenders, security, DJs and dancers.

As for regulation - unlike nearby Washington State, our Constitution forbids clubs being regulated by statute (something about free speech). But in practice they are, by the Licqor licensing Commission (OLCC). No physical contact during stage or private shows - that counts as prostitution (illegal) - else the OLCC will remove your drinks license.

Hence the bars strictly enforce the rules themselves. The result is far from the seedy, dirty mac, pervert-oriented scenario some like to paint. It's a generally friendly atmosphere with friendly dancers who wouldn't dream of turning tricks (most are students who use the money to pay their way through college). One club even has a female strip club downstairs and a male version upstairs, while another has such a reputation for its food that it's frequently voted in polls as one of the city's top ten steakhouses! My closest strip club is opposite a lesbian dance club, and many evenings there are as many women tipping and getting lap dances as men.

For a comparison of how two states view strip clubs, here's an interesting article.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ht
ml/localnews/2003336880
_portlandclubs02m.html

Manfarang said...

anony 11:09 pm
The people of Eire prefer to ignore the likes of you!

Anonymous said...

Iain, don't make me laugh. They are knocking shops. You have NO idea.

a very public sociologist said...

I attended a symposium on lap dancing last year, and it was a bit of an eye opener. One of the contributors has this to say:

"Isabel Robson of the London-based Lileth Project presented the research the group has done on lap dance clubs and sexual attitudes. They estimate there are between 270 to 320 lap dance clubs in the UK, of which there are about 70 in London alone. Typically the average age of a customer is 25 (a massive drop from the figures of a decade ago) whereas that of a dancer is 19. In the opinion of the group and herself, lap dancing is far from harmless fun: it is fundamentally a human rights issue. One such “harmless” effect is the creation of an illusion of sexual availability. If we take as gospel the claims by club owners that their dancers are not harmed by the punters, the same cannot be said of women living in the immediate vicinity. Robson reports an increase on average of 50% in reported rapes and sexual assaults, increased attacks on local prostitutes and an increase in danger as perceived by women wherever a club opens. On the workers themselves, the project found they had few rights. As self-employed workers, dancers have little or no recourse to workplace legislation. Also because women rent their space from the club, they can fall into the trap where they haven't earned enough money in an evening to pay and so can end up in debt to the club. This need to cover the rent and earn enough to live encourages competition among the women to offer an edge vis a vis the others. The tendency is to offer ever more extreme performances, some going beyond the 'no touching' rule."

tapestry said...

oh yes and I should have added - no babies - to the list of things missing in peoples' lives in Britain, referring back to an earlier post of Iain's.

More gyrating, more sex, more babies, happier people.

You know it makes sense!

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells said...

Why don't you, as a gay man all cosied up with that Davis geezer (who voted to keep Section 28, against an equal age of consent, against adoption rights) ask your buddy to make this another plank in his "personal freedom" by-election campaign?

I'm sure the Haltemprice electorate would like the chance to vote against the restriction of sleazy sex clubs.

Don't you think you have some strange principles ?

Casual Observer said...

Things have clearly moved on since 1987. Anyone know where my nearest is???

Anonymous said...

Iain, I am absolutely disgusted with you !! And I have been spending time trying to help the 'Stripping the Illusion' campaign and you try and put the kibosh on it with ignorant and ill-thought out arguments !!

Do you not realise that Lap-Dancing clubs, as they are euphemistically called, require no more legislation than a coffee bar ?? Well do you ??

This 'legislation' is NOT trying to ban them. I don't believe in that.
I believe that people can do what they want with their money. [And frankly I am astonished that you would be seen dead in one, but that is another story...] What I want is for there to be proper regulation.

If one of these were to open next door to you in Tunbridge Wells, do not tell me you wouldn't have a view on it ?? Well, at present there is very little you could do to stop it. Despite them being 'sex establishments' they are not being categorised as 'sex encounter' establishments and so can get away with minimal licensing & regulation.

You need to go away and do some of your homework on this, sonny jim, before shooting your mouth off with inane banalities - these sites are degrading to women, create a market for 'people-traffickers' and act as a gateway to prostitution with the attendant drug-fuelled misery which that entails. Shame on you, Iain !!

http://www.object.org.uk/LapDancing.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7460302.stm

curly15 said...

I found it strange how Polly Toynbee missed a whole catalogue of other features of this Labour administration before deciding that their legacy would be an explosion of lapdancing clubs.

I've heard of selective deafness, but to go blind too?

stuartbrucepr said...

I disagree with you strongly on this one Iain. Some good points have already been made, but for me it's not a 'womens' issue. As a man I find it degrading and reprehensible that these places are meant to appeal to me. They appeal to idiots and that's all.

And as for employment, if you'd paused to research the issue you'd have discovered that most of the people working there aren't 'employed' but pay to work there and can therefore be pressurised because they need to break even before they even start to earn money.

Personally I think an alternative to banning would simply be a new law so that 'customers' of these establishments had to be photographed in their underpants and the pictures displated outside the venue. Surely if it's acceptable behaviour and it's not demeaning then they wouldn't mind this - would they?

John W said...

Strip clubs are a symptom and a cause of urban degradation.

Obviously more government regulation is not the way to sort anything out.

Giving people a greater say in what gets permission and what does not get permission to open in their neighbourhood and town centre would be far better. A bit of direct democracy can go a long way.

Rob Marrs said...

At a brothel, one has sex. In a lapdancing bar, one does not have sex.

As most people know there is a massive difference between having sex and not having sex.

Anonymous at 11:02 said some are effectively brothels - fine, police those ones and shut them down if they are breaking the law.

Anonymous said...

David Lindsay @ 1:56 AM


".... the one in Consett has just been granted an extension to five o’clock because the District Council, to its great distress, was unable to find any legal ground for refusing the application."

In Consett? My wife has just asked if it is in what was the Irish Catholic Democratic Club (aka "The Demi") which apparently also used to have the best Guinness in the UK?

Anonymous said...

This wasn't a gov't Bill - wasn't it a ten min rule Bill by Roberta Blackman-Woods?

Ian_QT said...

Femi-puritans don't give a shit about any of that.

moral panic spotter said...

I spy a moral panic.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

What we need is a Sex Encounter Regulation and Control Commission, a Sex Workers (Price Control and Employment) Authority, Regional Sex Encounter Co-ordination and Outreach Facilities; increased powers for Local Authorities to carry out undercover surveillance of sex establishments and a Sex Encounter (Training, Awareness, Inspection and Education) Committee.

Oh, and a Sex Tsar. (That could be you, Iain.)

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

When John Major's administration was running out of steam he turned to traffic cones.

Now this administration has turned to Lapdancing Clubs.

Jilted John said...

As a man I find it degrading and reprehensible that these places are meant to appeal to me.

as an occasional television viewer, I find it degrading and reprehensible that Big Brother is meant to appeal to me. I'm not trying to ban it, though, I just don't watch it.

I can understand the appeal of attractive women gyrating in the altogether, though.

Newmania said...

Iain you obviously know little about this subject which is to your credit no doubt . As a damned sinner I have been to plenty and they are varied . Some , in the central spots , are WYSIWYG but others are placed for Ho`s and clients , drugs and criminality do gather around them.
I would not much like either on my doorstep but especially the latter sort which , I suspect, are more likely away from the big money and corporate scene.
You are quite wrong about this which is planning issue not Libertarian war on wimmin and their thinly disguised fear of sex.


(Oh by the way should Mrs N look in ,this was a long time ago in another country and besides the wench is dead ..or something)

Anonymous said...

Iain,

I like your blog but I'm afraid you know very little about the seedy underworld of these clubs. Not all are badly-run and used as a brothel, but many are and restrictions are definitely needed.

Local "crimelords", to use such a phrase, often open them up in desolated areas, making them even worse and distressing the local - usually elederly or family-based - communities. Once they are open they are difficult to close and there have been cases where lapdancing clubs have been used for drugs and prostitution rackets; sometimes even people-smuggling centres.

This is clearly unacceptable and any positive moves form government would, for me, be most welcome.

wrinkled weasel said...

I have just re-read the comments on this thread.

I think a lot agree that this is not a moral issue. This is not about libertarianism. It is about the kind of seedy, shitty fuckwit lowest common denominatorism we are getting, and yes, big brother can be added to this.

It is a bit charming and a bit strange that you think these places are harmless. Its a like getting your entire world view by reading The Sun.

The kids are let loose in the sweetshop and they make themselves sick. That's it. Freedom to bugger yourself up. Having rent boys poop in your mouth is ok by me, if you do it in private. Just don't expect me to want it IN MY BACKYARD.

Chris Paul said...

I don't disagree with the overall pelvic thrust of this Iain. But most of these places home and away ARE indeed "sexual encounter establishments" with "off sales" and sometimes "on sales". They'll be after the backrooms in Anal Treet soon. If "sexual encounter establishments" need to be regulated then these should probably be included.

Anonymous said...

I think the move is regrettable as I don't believe it is justified to regulate (which means close) lapdancing clubs any more than sandwich bars. However, my fundamental objection is to the case against them put forward by the Fawcett Society. It runs along the lines of the clubs 'mainstreaming' the sexual objectification of women!

I am sorry but provided objectification happens between customer and supplier in an economic transaction; provided women are not accosted by objectifiers in their homes and workplaces or when travelling between; and provided there is a choice of objectifying and non-objectifying leisure options (which there is) then I am 100% fine and dandy with it. In fact I think it is a good thing that it is available.

Are the Fawcettes saying the male brain is not mainstream?

Anonymous said...

iain, its mainly to stop lap dancing clubs from expanding into mainstream pubs and clubs.

24 hour lap dancing clubs on the high street are not desirable. they have a plca but not in the mainstream

also, its not behind closed doors, the profligeration of bars trying to get lap dancing status is on the up, undermining local pub culture for £10, £20 strips.

the govt, if it tries to block this will be absolutely right. i don't want to have to walk my kids to school past it - but nor am i arguin g that it be made illegal, just left alone in its seedy corner.

legalisation+regulation is usually the best option said...

with regards to the 'mainstream' arguments...

So-called 'adult shops' used to be very much seedy, tawdry, quite nasty places with links to local crime. Since the advent of Ann Summers, Coco de Mer et al they have moved into the high street, are bright, clean, and another part of the retail economy. They usually manage not to 'offend' (though the kind of people who are 'offended' by mannequins wearing lingerie really should **** off) by keeping the more outré items to the back of the shop where customers will only find them if they are looking for them.

Is there not an argument for safeguarding the rights of the women who work in these places by ensuring that they (both the places and the women) are part of the 'mainstream' economy? There's something slightly victorian about wanting to pretend that they don't exist and bracketing them with prostitution.

Pushing something to the margins is usually the fastest way of damaging everyone concerned.

Andy C said...

Yeah Iain, you've got this wrong. Things have moved on a bit since 1987.

Most strip clubs these days are a lot filthier than the innocent fun of the old days as competition has increased and clubs have responded accordingly.

There's a lot of East European girls in these places, and the suspicion is they are not all there willingly. And if you do want to take things a step further, it's usually not hard to find a girl willing if the price is right.

I'm no fan of nanny state legislation but I'm slightly bemused that these aren't already legislated as sexual experiances encounters.

Next time you're in NY, please get in touch, would be happy to escort you on a fact finding mission!

Congratulations on your nuptials btw.

verwity said...

I was lap dancer and I did extras.

golden rose said...

A difficult issue. Over the last few years there has been more and more pressure to mainstream and legitimise what was previously regarded as marginal entertainment, such as lap-dancing, webcam stripping, alcohol fuelled casual sex, etc. What effect is this having on real human relationships, the self esteem of teenage girls, the ethos of personal responsibility amongst young men and the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases? I know of teenage girls teased for being uptight because they won't text topless pictures of themselves. Is this really the society we want?

verity said...

Legalisation And Regulation - Nice to know you are so familiar with the geography of sex purveying establishments.

Very sweet of you to be concerned about the women, but I don't agree. And no, they're not part of "the mainstream economy". People who don't frequent such establishments should not have to encounter them.

Certainly, they have a right to exist, and customers have a right to go to them, but let us not pretend they are normal businesses. They exist to exploit men.

verity said...

Trumpeter - You omitted the creation of a quango to ensure diversity in lapdancing clubs. This will mean that fat women with rheumatism will be able to sue if they fail to land a job as a lap dancer.

It's only fair.

Also, Muslims who refuse to removed their burqas and niqabs could also sue.

Actually, the diversity industry is missing a trick (you should excuse the term) here.

Zeddy said...

I hate to appear prudish (moi?) but my objection to these places is less to do with exploitation etc etc and more to do with the sheer tackiness of it all.

What sort of men go to these places? I'm not implying that they're perverts, merely that they have no self respect.

I think a good rule of thumb is The Sun. If you feel happy reading a copy of The Sun on the Tube, knowing that the woman sitting next to you can see you looking a a giant pair of tits (I mean page 3, not Kelvin and Murdoch), then I imagine you'll have no problem with lap dancing clubs.

But if you wouldn't ever open The Sun at page 3 where women can see you reading it, if only out of a desire not to appear like some drooling spaniel, then you'd probably not be in favour of the idea of lap dancing clubs.

I mean, going into one if tantamount to screaming to the world: I can't get a woman unless I pay for one.

Fortunately, like Iain, I'm able to treat the idea of having a woman gyrate on my crotch as one of purely academic interest.

Anonymous said...

Here in Birmingham, it seems to be almost compulsory to have a lapdancing club on the corner of every street. There must be at least ten within walking distance of the city centre.

No one seems to bat an eyelid and they have become very much an ordinary part of the cityscape. In small towns around this country, people get worked up into a panic that the opening of a new club will instantly turn the place into a red light ghetto, but there seems to be little evidence to support such knee-jerk reactions. I think the opposite is true; by having them clean and brightly-lit in well-policed(!) town centre locations, it actually reduces the possibility of them becoming seedy.

Andy C said...

There's a lot more puritans in the Tory party coming out on this page than I remember there being!!

Zeddy, please don't judge - there's a lot of people who go to strip clubs who are neither lacking in self respect or desperate.

God I thought the argument around this kind of thing had grown up over the past decade, I was obviously wrong.

Anonymous said...

The problem with lapdancing clubs is that they need to be heavily regulated.

Organised crime and sex trafficing are part of the 'lap-dancing' business. If the government cracks down on these 'lap-dancing clubs' then you will see crime rates fall.

Plus Peter Stringfellow is so ugly it is criminal.

verity said...

Andy C writes, somewhat defensively, "God I thought the argument around this kind of thing had grown up over the past decade, I was obviously wrong."

What you mean is, you thought more people had come round to your personal point of view - that is, the mature, worldy point of view that refuses to regard the whole concept of lap-dancing as tacky to the max - than actually have.

Also, Andy C, you seem to have a problem in separating "strip clubs" from "lap dancing clubs". They are not similar.

Either way, I don't want to be assaulted by the sight of them and am perfectly happy for them to flourish under the tax radar as long as they don't assault the neighbourhood, or the street,with their presence.

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of people leaving messages here have obviously never been to a strip club, and are relying on second hand and anecdotal evidence to support their case that strip clubs are nothing more than brothels. I hate to disappoint you... over the past two years or so i must have been to over a dozen strip clubs across London, and i have never come across any form of prostitution or sexual services for money. Never ever. I actually met my girlfriend in a strip club, and think most people would be surprised to sit down and talk to dancers about the reality of it. Of course, there are some strip clubs are which offer such services, but they are very very rare, and never in the city centre. These are the clubs the Government should be targeting, not legitimate businesses, often employing intelligent and independent women. My girlfriend is supporting herself through part time law school doing this job. So please, before people get on their high horse, why don't you actually go into a strip club and talk to the people working there.

stuart said...

Didn't they also ban porn recently? Smoking is as good as banned. What a miserable bunch of ******* these people are.

Anonymous said...

Have a look in the back of your local paper; it probably has lots of adverts for massage parlours and saunas.
Only someone as dim as a minister wouldn't realise these are all tarts.

Oxymoron said...

I don't have anything against their existence - it is just that they are getting large and appearing in prominent city centre locations. It makes me very uncomfortable and I do think Conservatives should care about the long term effect this has.

I saw a BBC programme about a student who was doing it to pay her way through university. She had to pay the club a door fee of £85. Because she wasn't the prettiest dancer she was only allowed to charge £15, so she had to do 6 dances just to break even with the club.

I felt so sorry for her, I really did.

verity said...

Anonymous 4:52 - Listen carefully for I weel say zeez only wance (again): This thread is about lap dancing establishments.

These are not strip clubs.

This is two different forms of activity.

We don't care where you met your girlfriend or that she was a stripper. This isn't the subject of the thread. All these stupid men writing in with such dismissive, urbane indignation that there is one on every corner these days in the centre of their cities are talking about strip clubs, not lap dancing clubs, which is something else.

They, and you, did not read the post, so eager were you all to race in and give your opinions on strip clubs. Striptease is as old as burlesque.

Turn the phrase "lap dancer" carefully around in your mind. What could that possibly mean, do you think?

JessTheDog said...

Shut them down! I count myself as libertarian, but there are some limits in the name of decency.

I find the proliferation of lapdancing clubs on city high streets offensive. Likewise, "lads mags", rubbish like the Sport and Star, and Page 3. These pander to the knuckle-dragging mentality prevalent in today's society and send out unpleasant messages about women.

Having said that, I see nothing intrinsically wrong with pornography as long as it is in its appropriate context - out of public view, up a back-street somewhere. Keep it private, don't glorify or glamourise it.

Dave said...

I must be getting old, but they just lower the tone of an area.
And when Ronnie Scotts in Birmingham became the Rocket Club, bloody hell it was depressing

Anonymous said...

verity: I can assure you that when I (anon 3:59) referred to the current proliferation in Birmingham, I (at least) was definitely referring to lapdancing clubs and not strip clubs.

A strip club is one where the entertainment is primarily in the form of a stage show, with poledancing and stripping on stage for the patrons to watch.

A lapdancing club is one where, after being pestered by a hopeful girl for 10 minutes, and finally agreeing a price, she takes you into the back-room and performs a lapdance in close contact, whilst the patron remains seated and looks on in frustrated excitement.

Either way, in my experience both types of clubs will strongly resist prostitution taking place and will throw out any patron who looks as though he is getting too frisky with the lapdancer. The back room areas are usually heavily guarded with bouncers and CCTV cameras for the protection of the dancers.

verity said...

Ever wondered what I am doing in Mexico City? Yup, that's right. I shake it and make it as a dancer.

verity said...

10:49 I am not going to be a sensitivy warrior for men, but they are degraded at lap dancing establishments. Their choice, of course.

Little Angry Twerpy Verity Manquê, don't be ridiculous! No one lives in Mexico City any more! Dear God!

Allan said...

Is this not a licensing issue related to music clubs, pubs and other amenties (which all these things are). We cannot legitimately try to control what people do, including going to strip clubs etc, and the fact there is a market the size there is suggests that cutting supply would just drive it underground (prohibition is not a good thing).

Instead therefore it is worth removing licenses where license conditions are not kept - and do this to all licensed premises, so that serving obviously drunken and violent thugs (as an ex-barman, there are clearly those who should have no more to drink...) or allowing prostitution on their premises lose their license (and for chains, can risk losing all their licenses if they don't have proper procedures). Simple and to the point - and if something is awry, it allows police and locals to take direct action.

This bill is a typical case of central government (the concept, not the current Labour party one) trying to impose correct behaviour on us. Yet the only way to do that is to offer incentive and penalty - blanket legislation just encourages unregulated and unregulatable activity under the blanket.

Alice Dale said...

I would have to agree with what I see as the majority view here (although maybe I'm blinkered). If you look at Object's site and some of their statistics you'll see some evidence that siggests that violence and sexual violence against women rise in the surrounding areas of these establishements. There have also been some pretty horrible stories written by ex-lapdancers: I read one in the Guardian, but I imagine you may not be a regular subscriber to that paper ...

stuart said...

@jessthedog... so you're not actually that much of a libertarian, are you? Are you just libertarian on those things you like doing?

Bastiat1 said...

5000 people out of work. What an utterly ridiculous posting.

Andy C said...

The comments on here are pretty indicative that the majority who would purport to be informed and capable of making the law on this subject, quite patently haven't got a bloody clue what they're talking about.

Anonymous said...

What you need is some good old Russian democratic tricks in parliament for those kind of sticky questions.

http://z00ts-space.blogspot.com/2008/05/attack-of-cock-copter.html

Anonymous said...

tapestry said...

"The UK must soon be one of the most miserable countries in the world to live in, if it isn't already."

It already is, and has been for years.

"When will the Brits get a life?"

No time soon. You just have to read the comments on this thread to see how UK politics is dominated by social and sexual inadequates bent upon preventing anyone ever enjoying anything. Bunch of freaks.