Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Belle End

Now that Belle de Jour has her book and TV deal, she's given up hooking.

Belle de Jour is one very clever ex-prostitute. She borrowed her name from a 1967 French film starring Catherine Deneuve as a housewife who dabbles in prostitution, she discussed Iris Murdoch with clients after sex and once chastised one of her johns for wanting to write his name in come on her: "You can't fool me, you nicked that line from London Fields". "Amis Fan?" he said idly, pulling himself with one hand." She confessed all to her weblog in 2003, and soon had the British press clamouring to work out whether all the literary references meant she was a journalist writing a mucky fairytale. Toby Young, Rowan Pelling, Sarah Champion, even Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell had the finger pointed at them. The Times even hired a literary forensic expert to track her down. A six-figure book deal and an upcoming Channel 4 TV series has meant that she's quit her day job now, so that when her phone rings now "it doesn't mean I have to go check the state of my pubic hair." In one interview, Belle complained that with all the press furore came the assumption "that a woman who has sex for money could not possibly put a readable sentence together." But when she writes in her book "Did I mention that I am actually rather clever? Oh, I did. Well, Martin Amis is cool," does she not realise how grating it is to show off how many books she's got under her belt? Which begs the question, how are Channel 4 going to translate her literary boastfulness on to screen? And now that she's not a prostitute, is she interesting anymore?

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