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Paul Willetts‘ biography of Soho’s ‘King of Porn’ Paul Raymond, Members Only, is published by Serpent’s Tail next week. The Daily Express carried two serialised excerpts this week:

In the mid-Fifties, as he celebrated his 30th birthday, he was little more than a washed-up ex-variety performer who had appeared in end-of-pier shows as a mind-reader. Then he happened to spend an evening at Britain’s first “strip joint”, a club off Leicester Square, and different from prewar burlesque shows because members-only admission meant the performers did not have to obey censorship rules ordering naked women on stage to be perfectly still. The show was terrible, Raymond thought, yet if it could attract well- heeled executive types, how much more would they pay for an extravagant cabaret-style show, with nude girls, obviously, in a luxuriant setting?

By the time the Revuebar had closed at 11.10pm on its first night on Monday, April 21, 1958, he had taken more than £500 from the sales of tickets, drinks, programmes and cloakroom fees. At the time, the average monthly wage was about £200.

3:AM interview with Paul Willetts next week.

First posted: Friday, August 27th, 2010.

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