Mp3 Killed the Vinyl DJ 5: Mae West & Other Feral Femmes

While many Feminists seem to believe that sexuality caters to men, not women (because being an object of desire is seen to have less to do with desire, and more to do with being an object), some women embrace sex not because they're victimised or weak—or even because they want to exploit men's weaknesses—but simply because they're randy. When Mae West wrote her play Sex, landing her in court on obscenity charges, she didn't do so because sex sells. She was just a sexpot. The girl couldn't help it, and damned if she'd let some boring old farts—fragile, male egos and jealous female egos, both intimidated by a woman's sexual freedom and demands—stop her. What they objected to, of course, was that she went from being an object of desire to being a subject of desire. Worse: both at the same time!

Nothing can be hotter, of course, and no rhetoric from insecure patriarchs or puritanical Feminists will ever change that.

Toilet Guppies is currently in on organising a sexedelic electro burlesque event in Oslo (the first night to be held on Saturday 28 November), and certain locals—clubbers, trendies, party youths, no less—have voiced their disapproval at the news that a burlesque duo will be performing, perhaps baring it all. The effortlessly titillating Chiquita Bonita and Lucrezia La Bomba of Femme Ferale, who won Best New Troupe at the 2008 London Burlesque Festival, have agreed to entice and tease us with their playful and modernised burlesque act. Apparently, even the innocent tease of vaudeville strip is too much for the fragile egos of many young Norwegians…

But Femme Ferale have embraced their beauty, flaunting it as they have it, and have chosen to cultivate their self-esteem and -possession. They don't rely on the scraps thrown their way by sexually frustrated businessmen whose wives don't understand them, nor are they in any way limited by the violent control of brute mafiosi. They're merely sizzling hot. Why hide behind false modesty? So that their «sisters» won't feel so unappealing, boring and sexless as Femme Ferale command the stage? It's high time the general population of Norway is not hemmed in by some people's neuroses…

As with burlesque acts, Mae West was full of humour. Sex was about fun, pleasure, life, not about politics—unless we're talking the politics of fun, pleasure, choice. And so it is that one of the club night's resident DJs, Sheik Yerdix, has provided Toilet Guppies with a selection of 1966
recordings made by a 74 year-old West, backed by a teenage garage sensation (the aptly named Somebody's Chyldren!). Femme Ferale aren't your average burlesque troupe, residing in a nostalgic fantasy-land of safe tease, soundtracked by the same old exotica or '30s jazz, yet there's something of Mae West's assured attitude present in their slightly punked-up burlesque, so here you go. These are the highlights from Mae West's rare Way Out West, an album full of Dylan, Beatles and John Lee Hooker covers, as well as various garage standards—an album considered so negligible that it's never been reissued. But as these four tracks—and the obscene price Sheik Yerdix had to shell out for an original vinyl copy—prove, the combination of a sexed-up septuagenerian bombshell and a band of hormonal teen boys is as good an idea on vinyl as it was on paper.

Lighten up, Oslo, and prepare yourself:

Mae West & Somebody's Chyldren: Selections from Way Out West [.zip]

1. Treat Him Right
2. Boom Boom
3. Shakin' All Over
4. Mae Day

@ Sjokoladefabrikken, Stockholmgata 12, Oslo,
on Saturday 28 November.
Doors open 22:10. Entrance kr. 100,-.
RSVP Facebook.

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