La Freak Smut Cinema

Article posted by Afterglow on

Sometimes it’s exciting not to know what you’re getting yourself into. Sometimes it’s fun not to know what to expect. Such was the case on Thursday, when Afterglow rocked up to La Freak Smut Cinema.

We arrived at the venue – the top floor of The Macbeth in Hoxton – and were greeted, milled around, bought reasonably priced drinks, and then selected a quiet table at the back, in a darkened corner. The room was subtly decorated with sexual appetisers: a male mannequin in a collar there, a bra over a lamp there. The room was spacious; the organisers had not simply packed as many folding chairs into the room as possible to secure the most tickets they could. There were sofas, stools, armchairs, tables – it felt… exclusive. Not busy, exclusive. Like we were part of something new, and feminine, and positive. We weren’t there for the décor though.

Ostensibly, La Freak is a kind of classy porn show. In practice, it’s more than that. It’s a room full of interesting people talking, drinking, laughing and watching a kind of semi-pornographic video montage created and organised by two very lovely young women who made us all very welcome and seemed to really enjoy putting on the show.

We should be clear at this point: we only had a vague conceptualisation of what we were in for. When the lights went down and the first film segment started, a familiar phrase was projected onto the big screen in front of us: “the difference between pornography and erotica is lighting”. We whispered to each other about how common it was these days to take any porn scene, make it black and white, and it somehow seems classier. It’s perhaps fair to update the phrase to, “the difference between pornography and erotica is a black and white grainy filter and false vignette effect”. Not quite as catchy, perhaps.

We won’t go into detail about the content itself – we’ll simply summarise it as a series of quite cool semi-hardcore porn compilations set to quite cool music. The content, then, was quite cool. (If you’d like to read about what we actually saw, read this review).

Instead, we’d like to talk about something slightly more conceptual: what the event represented. The clips and montages selected were pretty varied, and they weren’t designed for the kind of viewer who might frequent a conventional porn cinema. They were pretty elegant, some funny, some imaginative, some relatively standard. They were not designed for hairy-palmed, back-alley, mac-wearers. They had something more than that to offer, and if anything else, the fact that the event was full proved that there are young Londoners like us who want to go and watch such things, and talk about such things, in the presence of approachable and intelligent strangers who are also keen to watch and talk.

 

La Freak Smut Cinema, then, is a good idea. It’s like analysing sex, but without losing the magic – and that’s a hard thing to do.


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