There’s been predictable outrage over the fact adult film director Anna Span is to stand as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the forthcoming general election. Under her real name of Anna Arrowsmith, she’s been selected to fight the seat of Gravesham in Kent. It’s a decision which doesn’t sit well with some people. One female commentator on a Five Live phone-in I caught part of the other night described the women who act in porn films as prostitutes and the likes of Anna as pimps, because they’re making money off the selling of sex (nice bit of twisted logic there…). Of course, these people could just be upset that Anna is only one of a breed of intelligent, educated, talented women who confound the stereotypes surrounding women in the adult industry. And they probably also complain about career politicians who’ve never had a proper job before entering parliament.
In other parts of the world, candidates have overcome this prejudice and been elected to political office. Ilona Staller, aka La Cicciolina, took her place in the Italian parliament over twenty years ago, while former Cosmopolitan centrefold Scott Brown recently claimed the late Ted Kennedy’s seat in the US senate. While the former was seen as someone who’d been elected as a symbol of how low respect for the government had fallen, ‘joke’ candidates can often turn out to be surprisingly good at their job, as was the case with the man who was once Hartlepool FC mascot, Hang’us the Monkey, and is now in his third term as the town’s mayor.
The step from porn model to politician hasn’t been quite as successful. In the mid-Nineties, David Sullivan’s Sport stable of newspapers put up candidates including Louise Hodges and Vida Garman in a number of by-elections. However, that was more a publicity stunt for the brand rather than a serious attempt to dethrone the likes of Michael Portillo, though it would have been nice to see Louise, the only model we knew who could pose with both legs straight up in the air and still manage to get her face in shot (try it, but don’t blame me if you put your back out!), make an appearance at Prime Minister’s Question Time.
Meanwhile, Miss Whiplash herself, Lindi St Clair, who once stood for parliament as leader of the Corrective Party, has – according to one press report – found God and is running a duck farm in Herefordshire. I once interviewed Lindi for Forum in her Earl’s Court premises. Because she wasn’t in the house on her own, she felt safe to let in a client, which could well have made me an accessory to running a brothel if Her Majesty’s Constabulary had decided to pop in. Not that I worried about this at the time – I was too busy taking notes as she taunted her tranny client for his various inadequacies (which, of course, he absolutely loved…). Lindi’s autobiography, It’s Only A Game, has been out of print for years – and of course, her life took a whole series of strange twists after she wrote it – but it’s worth a read if you can track a copy down.
And if you aren’t aware of Anna Span’s work, while she’s often been constrained from producing stuff which is quite as female-friendly as she’d like by working for satellite TV audiences which are largely male, the little films she’s created to advertise the range of sex toys she sells on her site are wickedly funny. You can find them at annaspansdiary.com, and if you are going to check out any of her DVDs, then try Do The Business. The concept is a cut above most adult film set-ups – nice Fifties gels go forward in time to find husbands, only to discover that the typical Noughties male is a foul-mouthed, lazy slob whose one good point is that he shags like a demon – and it’s executed with style and good humour. It probably won’t have any influence on where you put your cross on polling day, but it should leave you feeling decidedly liberal!