Monday, 9 April 2012

Review of 'Stripped; A Life of Strip & Tease in Clubland' by Samantha Bailey

A memoir that runs the full life cycle of lapdancing.  Samantha Bailey began as a champagne hostess and lapdancer in Denmark when she was only a sweetfaced 17 year old from Essex, then returned to the UK and worked in a succession of lapdancing clubs, first as a stripper, then as a house mum.  Unfortunately for the gossip mongerers she doesn't explicitly name any clubs other than Stringfellows, but I reckon I can recognise a few of the places - and people - she mentions.  Keeping my lips sealed for now tho! 
Seeing as we both write about the same territory, I was suprised to see that the experiences which stick out in my mind are completely different.  She talks about money and gangsters on almost every page, which could make some readers lose sympathy for the protagonist.  You see her naievity in the industry gradually dissapate, and replaced by a steely determination to get on top of her game.  However, over the ten year period, the game is changing - more clubs are opening up, stealing business, and a new breed of stripper, who will do anything for money, from dirty dancing to prostitution, emerge.  At first Sam combats this ill tide by switching clubs, but she feels that she cannot cope as the guareenteed money begins to dry up.  And Jesus, did this girl earn some money!!! She had a flotilla of regulars, guareenteeing several grand a week, and commission was so low in the beginning that it was practically non-existent.  Eventually though, the commission and house fees begin to increase, as the clubs realised that they can make money off the dancers as well as the customers.  She thinks she has a fresh start when she becomes a housemother, but the club, codenamed 'Liberty Steel', is taken over by a bunch of Americans who sound like a mealy-mouthed, hard-nosed contingent who make her life difficult.  She eventually quits in glorious fashion, presumably to go off and write this tell-all memoir - Stripped: A Life of Strip and Tease in Clubland
My favourite chapter explored the different types of customers; 'The Virgin', 'Mr Trapped', and hilariously 'The Homosocials'.  All in all, she divided the guys into six different personality and spending types, (see my stripclub stereotypes series for more in a similar vein), and I felt that she summed up the men really well. The Homosocials are described as men who come into impress other men ie: their clients. Or as she brilliantly puts it "It's a bizarre variation of the 'see how big my dick is' contest that men play all the time."
Stripped: A Life of Strip and Tease in Clubland
has only just come out last week, and it's doing really well in the charts, so I encourage you to click on the link and grab a copy before they all sell out.  Perfect holiday reading for when summer arrives!

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