Monday, July 16, 2012

From the Top Shelf - Mr. Phillips

Mr. Phillips is a humorous novel by John Lanchester, about a man who loses his job. Not that being fired is funny, but you see, Mr. Phillips doesn't know how to tell his family that he is now unemployed, so on Monday morning he gets up, dresses for the office, and with briefcase in hand sets off as usual. I was laughing out loud by the time I got to the third page, and pleasantly surprised to find a spanking reference not too far into the book, when Mr. Phillips gets on his usual train to the city.

Mr. Phillips has not taken his book out of his case; he prefers to watch and wait. Next to him on one side, a very tall man in jeans and a T-shirt is reading the Daily Sport, stopping at every other page to inspect with real care the pictures of naked women, all of whom to Mr. Phillips's eyes have breasts that are implausibly large and unerotically rigid, as if they had been inflated especially for the occasion. Not for the first time Mr. Phillips wonders who these girls are... All of them...have bodies like the girl in the photograph that the man has now stopped looking at as he turns the page to begin reading a piece called "Hanky-Panky No Thanky! Neighbours' Spanking Game Keeps Street Up All Night."

Mr. Phillips doesn't get off at his usual stop, but stays on until the train reaches a park on the other side of London. As he watches several people playing tennis, he meets a man who has been watching him. This gentleman is an independent publisher of naughty magazines, and cheerfully explains why he was observing Mr. Phillips:

"I come here, look around, look at girls, look at men looking at girls, try to cook up some ideas based on what I see. Tennis, now there's a thought. A whole magazine based on girls playing tennis—girls leaning over showing their bums, glimpses of tit when they throw the ball, that sort of thing... Let's face it, why do you think people watch tennis on the telly in the first place? To get new ideas about the placement and timing of their forehands? Bollocks. It's for the totty. It's basically about women's knickers. They should have a camera trained on them as they serve, a super-slow-motion Knicker-Cam. Or Totty-Cam? You have to give people what they want.
Think of that famous photo with the girl's skirt hitched up and her rubbing her bum. Just a glimpse of cheek, that's all you really get—but what a classic. Not that it makes much sense. Is she supposed to have been hit on the arse by the ball, or what? And why isn't she wearing any knickers? Go brilliantly in a story shoot, that would."

To pass the time Mr. Phillips wanders along a street devoted to adult X-rated entertainment. He reminisces about clearing out his deceased father's desk and finding a hoard of erotic pictures and magazines. He imagines what his own sons would say about him if they were to find a hidden stash of pictures that he had saved (not that he had one).

"Dad wasn't much if a tit man, was he?"
"No, it was bums or nothing for the old man."

A man after my own heart.

From Hermione's Heart


Anonymous said...

Recently, I received a brochure from Victoria's Secret. Something seemed off, the girl's were all facing in the wrong direction, forward, rather than showing their bottoms.

So, I can certainly relate to the story. Thanks.


Aimless Rambling said...

My husband's delight too.

Anonymous said...

I want to read the book!
Also my hubby enjoys that view as well!

Hermione said...

Joey - Isn't it annoying when models turn their best assets away from the camera?

Sunnygirl - And mine.

Minelle - It's a recent publication so you should be able to find it.


ronnie said...

P sure enjoys that view as well. Thanks Hermione.


Hermione said...

Ronnie - I wonder why:)