TVX at Spearmint Rhino relaunch

Posted: October 11, 2012

Helping Spearmint Rhino celebrate the relaunch of its famous gentleman’s club, on September 27th Television X held a Burlesque party at the London venue, featuring pole and lap dancers, and some sparky on-stage action. In an attempt to justify his expenses, Paul Smith claimed he was there for ‘work’ and filed this report for ETO…


Amongst the guests at the Tottenham Court Road venue – once seen on a Top Gear challenge – were performers Marino, Samantha Bentley and Ben Dover, aka Lindsay Honey. Also at the party, former Foreplay, Desire and Forum magazine editor Sarah Berry, who is still keenly involved with the Fannying Around project.


Chris Ratcliff, programming director for Portland Enterprises, told me lots of folks from the world of adult broadcasting were attending, but that Television X have stopped producing R18 DVDs in response to the continuing shrinking of that market. The firm has refocused on broadcast TV and VOD services.


Although the champagne reception was wasted on this teetotaller (I also had to brush off an offer of a Brandy. At least, that’s the name she gave) it did help relax attendees. Sadly, for me the novelty of boobs wore off some years ago, but as I tweeted at the time, thank heavens for arses! I also found myself wandering around to look at the girl’s outfits, muttering to myself “Leg Avenue… Seven ‘til Midnight… Baci…” I also couldn’t resist singing Blue Moon every time I passed one particular girl on a blue-lit podium who waggled in my direction. The dwarf I thought was working the bar turned out to be a normal height lady in a pit.


Actually shrinking, Big Bad Dave – a familiar face on Harmony and other shoots – has lost six stone in recent months and is looking forward to being just Bad Dave or Formerly-Big Bad Dave. His background in desktop publishing has been coming to the fore due to reduced demand for his adult production skills and he’s still looking for more opportunities in either area.


Reeling from the revelation that the cash machine in the lobby charges £10 per withdrawal (don’t ask) I got talking to a brunette lady who’d been shrink-wrapped into a red dress for the night. She confided that she didn’t enjoy working at the club but bills don’t pay themselves. I had every sympathy.


I bumped into Sonny from Darker Enterprises who told me Private have taken over Ann Summers’ old licensed store in Bristol. In a new development for the business they’re pitching the store rather differently to other shops in the chain, as “something between Ann Summers and Harmony”. The new brand, expected to be replicated elsewhere in the UK – including their flagship shop on Soho’s Brewer Street – is called Private Moments. He also told me Cigirex sales are continuing to grow even though the industry’s reaction to eCigarettes had been generally cautious.


A short bald gent, talking to a statuesque black lady elevated by platform shoes that put his head below boob height, was an image which will stay with me, as will TVX’s marketing and PR manager Clare Wigington’s corset. Impressed by my 3D camera, we discussed the format. As promoted as ‘the adult TV event of the year’, back in January the channel – along with sister channel Red Hot TV – had broadcast The Society in 3D as well as 2D simulcast. The film by Kaizen XXX had been an experimental toe-dip in the world of stereoscopic programming but it’s one they may repeat as sales of 3D TVs continues to grow.


Surrounded by guys ‘old enough to be her father’ and women ‘too pretty to be his daughter’ I sought out a man who didn’t look out of place in this environment; Marino Franchi of Spanking Tomato. He told me: “I’m shooting a movie for Playboy, and I’m having my arse sued in the High Court over the Tulisa sex tape scandal. There’s a few names [from the industry] bandied about and we’re all up there being sued over what we believe is a miscarriage of justice.” I wished him success.


At the age of 40 I discovered a new kink for girls in glasses, which was a bonus, but I was less enamoured to be approached outside the venue by a man wanting to take me to meet prostitutes. What did he take me for? (The correct answer is not ‘to meet prostitutes.) I also met a lot of men wearing lipstick, which might sound like a very different sort of night out if it hadn’t been on their cheeks. The party’s low point for me was having my hands taken by a stunning Chinese dancer (not in the Dr No sense) and being told they were lovely and soft. A little embarrassed, I replied, falteringly, “You… have lovely soft hands… too.” Not my best work. It was only afterwards I thought of, “Well, you know what they say. Soft hands, hard… heart.” As it was, she dropped both my hands and her interest in me as soon as I said I was working at the event and a lap dance was unlikely to get the OK as a legitimate business expense. She had a close escape really; I’m a lousy tipper.