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Teledildonics

Tuesday, 25 October, 2016 0 Comments

Note the dates: 19 and 20 December. That’s when attendees at The International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots will explore “robot emotions, personalities, humanoid robots, intelligent electronic sex hardware and entertainment robots.” The event is taking place in Goldsmiths, University of London, after it was was banned in Malaysia. Sessions will address Robot Emotions, Teledildonics, Robot Personalities, Intelligent Electronic Sex Hardware and related issues.

David Levy, conference general chair, chess champion and author of Love and Sex with Robots says: “I believe that loving sex robots will be a great boon to society.There are millions of people out there who, for one reason or another, cannot establish good relationships.” It should be noted, however, that a group of scientists called for a ban on sex robots last year and created the Campaign Against Sex Robots.

This is the 21st century, after all.


Dracula Therapy

Tuesday, 26 May, 2015 0 Comments

Dracula On this day in 1897, Dracula, a novel by the Irish author Bram Stoker, was published at a price of six shillings. It had a print run of 3,000 copies and the book was bound in plain yellow cloth with the one-word title in simple red lettering. In time, Dracula would become the supreme example of horror fiction. The critic Maurice Richardson described it as “a kind of incestuous, necrophilious, oral-anal-sadistic all-in wrestling match”. What’s not to like?

“Then she paused, and I could hear the churning sound of her tongue as it licked her teeth and lips, and could feel the hot breath on my neck. Then the skin of my throat began to tingle as one’s flesh does when the hand that is to tickle it approaches nearer — nearer. I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the supersensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes in a languorous ecstasy and waited — waited with beating heart.” — Bram Stoker, Dracula

In his longing for eternity, Dracula developed an insatiable demand for blood and it’s not surprising that one of the hottest treatments in the anti-ageing business right now is the vampirish “Dracula Therapy.” Officially titled Stimulated Self Serum skin therapy, it involves having your face injected with your own blood and it was developed by the London-based French cosmetic specialist, Dr Daniel Sister. A variant of the treatment is popularly called the “vampire facial” and recipients include Kim Kardashian.

A modification of the therapy, called “Rejuvula”, promises the same tightening effect — but not for the face. Irishwoman Claudia McGloin claims that she is the only female medical professional offering the treatment “for Vagina Rejuvenation in Europe.”

“The blood is the life!” — Bram Stoker, Dracula


Dei ex machina

Thursday, 14 May, 2015 0 Comments

Speaking at the Zeitgeist 2015 conference in London on Tuesday, the famed physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking had this to say: “Computers will overtake humans with AI at some within the next 100 years. When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours.” In its report, Geek.com illustrated Hawking’s prediction with a terrifying Terminator image. As the world knows, Hawking signed an open letter alongside Elon Musk earlier this year warning that Artificial Intelligence (AI) development should not go on uncontrolled, and guess which image The Independent uses today to highlight a story about Musk and his AI concerns? That’s right, the Terminator.

The cliché rules when it comes to AI it seems. We should be grateful, then, that Alex Garland’s Ex Machina is more imaginative and less lazy about the subject. The
film takes an adult approach to AI (full frontal nudity included) and explores ethics, consciousness, sexuality and search engines in its quest for answers.

In the film, Google becomes Bluebook, a nod to Wittgenstein’s notes on language games. Bluebook was founded by a tech genius called Nathan (Oscar Isaac), who retreats from Silicon Valley to create Ava (Alicia Vikander), a consciously erotic humanoid robot. The fun begins when a young Bluebook programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) arrives after having won a company lottery and it’s his job to subject Ava to the Turing test. Thanks to the hot London visual effects company, Double Negative, Alex Garland’s humanoids are irresistible and it’s only a matter of time before love and hate and murder are in the air. But there’s humour, too. This is one of our favourite scenes.


Fifty Shades of Grey during Lent

Wednesday, 5 March, 2014 0 Comments

It’s Ash Wednesday today. Time to begin the annual Lenten fast. This year, as usual, it means avoiding alcohol and what we used to call “sweets”, which covers everything from confectionary to chocolate to crème caramel. But Lent isn’t just 40 days and nights of penance. It’s a time of meditation, which is enhanced by listening to music such as Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis (1505-1585), an extraordinary choral work by an extraordinary English composer who managed to survive the religious upheavals under Henry VIII, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I.

For the listeners to his masterpiece, Tallis implores Domine Deus/ Creator caeli et terrae / respice humilitatem nostrum (Lord God/ Creator of Heaven and Earth / be mindful of our lowliness”), but it is highly unlikely that his idea of lowliness involved the kind of sado-masochism Christina and Anastasia practice in Fifty Shades of Grey, the best-selling soft-porn novel by EL James. Yet, there it is:

“The singing starts again … building and building, and he rains down blows on me … and I groan and writhe … Lost in him, lost in the astral, seraphic voices … I am completely at the mercy of his expert touch …
“‘What was that music?’ I mumble almost inarticulately.
“‘It’s called Spem in Alium, a 40-part motet by Thomas Tallis.’
“‘It was … overwhelming.'”

Along with Sex On Fire by the Kings of Leon and Toxic by Britney Spears, Spem in alium by The Tallis Scholars appears on the soundtrack of Fifty Shades of Grey. Odd bedfellows to be sure, but EL James knows that the rapture of music is good for the soul. Spem in alium nunquam habui (“I have never put my hope in any other”) is how this great devotional work begins before its tapestry of sound turns into a plea to the One “who absolves all the sins/ of suffering man” omnia peccata hominum/ in tribulatione dimittis.


The Tipperary Star bids for ‘Headline of the Year’

Thursday, 5 December, 2013 0 Comments

According to the 2011 census of Ireland, the population of County Tipperary was 158,754. That of Tipperary Town was put at 4,415. Both numbers are useful as it is not clear which “Tipp” entity The Tipperary Star is referring to in its recent headline.

The Tipperary Star

Situation clarified: “There are twelve women working as prostitutes in County Tipperary at the present time, The Tipperary Star can reveal,” the paper reported on 19 November. Councillor Billy Clancy pointed to the example of Germany, where he claimed “that 1 million per day are availing of” legalised prostitution. “They are even opening a mega brothel at the moment and I just feel that if we introduce legislation to ban prostitution people will just go to where sex is available to satisfy their desires,” he added.

The Tipperary Star, by the way, is owned by Johnston Press, a British newspaper conglomerate, and has a declining weekly circulation, now below 7,000 copies, down from 9,000 in 2008. Given the “sex sells” theory of newspapering, The Tipperary Star knows which buttons to press when it comes to doing the business.


Klaus Kinski joins Roman Polanksi in the perv Hall of Shame

Friday, 11 January, 2013 0 Comments
Klaus Kinski joins Roman Polanksi in the perv Hall of Shame

“The terrible thing is that he once told me that it was completely natural, that fathers all over the world did that with their daughters.” So spoke Pola Kinski, elder daughter of the late actor Klaus Kinski, who starred in some of the most famous German films of the 1970s and early 1980s, directed by […]

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Bukowski on women

Thursday, 27 December, 2012 0 Comments
Bukowski on women

Among the myriad delights that Santa Claus put in the Rainy Day Christmas stocking was Women by Charles Bukowski. In his introduction, Barry Miles says, “Women is Buwkoski’s punk novel. Written in 1977, it is fast, conversational, uses few long words, and just zips along.” In the book, we meet Henry Chinaski, a low-life writer […]

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Punishing the adulterer Petraeus

Thursday, 22 November, 2012 0 Comments

This is a tricky one for Western jurists (and journalists) because they are divided as to whether adultery is a crime or a sin or a lifestyle choice. From a Shariah point of view, it’s simple: He should be stoned to death. Well, that’s what the Taliban say, and they have form in these matters […]

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The Death of Helen Gurley Brown and the death of the magazine

Tuesday, 14 August, 2012
The Death of Helen Gurley Brown and the death of the magazine

Last week, the Audit Bureau of Circulations released its latest batch of statistics on magazine sales in the United States. Overall paid circulation declined slightly, by 0.1 percent, in the first half of 2012, but newsstand sales — often seen as the best indicator of a magazine’s appeal — fell by nearly 10 percent. Women’s […]

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Fifty Shades of Grey and the end of the chick lit cash cow

Friday, 9 March, 2012
Fifty Shades of Grey and the end of the chick lit cash cow

Word on Grub Street last year was that chick lit is on the way out. Seems as if the world has had enough of pastel-coloured covers decorated with pretty typefaces, and plots centered on shoes ‘n shopping. So what’s next? “Mommy porn”, would you believe. “A new book about sex games and a bondage-loving billionaire […]

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