Strip Club Blues
A warm day in late 2000 and I am in a strip club for the first and last time in my life. It is named after a flavour of chewing gum and a large mammal. Why this is so is unclear. Why I am here is less unclear. i am here for work.
The American rapper, Mystikal (sic. Real name Michael Tyler, fact fans) has had a surprise UK hit with a gentle and wistful ditty called "Shake Ya Ass". As a result, the UK record label has reached down the back of the sofa and clawed together enough money to fly Mystikal (sic) to London to hastily promote his album from which the ass-shaking hit is spawned.
This has resulted in a number of bizarre occurrences, not least a request that on arrival the entourage should be provided with industrial amounts of a certain strain of smokable vegetation. The dutiful A&R chap had acquired what he believed was enough to last the whole trip, only for it to be depleted within a matter of hours, the demands for more resulting in an extremely challenging expenses sheet.
In addition, a "lad mag" has asked to photograph and interview Mystikal and decided that the strip club is the best place to do this. I suspected at the time that it was less conducive to good photography and more conducive to the picture editor and the photographer having the perfect excuse for an "entertaining" evening but I let it pass.
Suffice it to say that the experience was a genuinely depressing one. Scantily-clad young women would cheerfully bound over asking if we could buy them drinks and when we explained that we were working, they less cheerfully bounded off to someone with greater potential. At one point, an elderly man arrived and was immediately surrounded by admirers. He bought them all champagne. It must have cost over £1,000.
Meanwhile, the entourage, which also consisted of various family male members along for the ride, loved every minute of the club and its offerings. Conversely, I had seen enough to know that I never again wanted to be anywhere so exploitative and depressing. Some years later, Mystikal was sentenced to a prison term for sexual battery of his former hair stylist. The album largely flopped.