The sinful nuns of St Valentine meet the Marquis de Sade at the Borders closing down “sale”

Watching capitalist corporations fail is a groove sensation, and it takes me right back to everything from the three day week to the ‘winter of discontent’ in the 1970s. All those who love power cuts will recall that the mid-1970s was a real peak for this type of fun in London. As a long-term fan of this great anti-tradition, you can’t keep me out of shops that are closing down. The last 12 months has been a real bonanza for entertainments of this type: first there was the closure of Woolworths, then there was Zavvi, now there is Borders (UK)! Okay, so the flagship Borders store in Oxford Street has already gone, but the sense of chaos and anti-climax in the still just hanging-on-by-a-thread Charing Cross Road branch really gives me the horn. The stock is in disarray, with books and DVDs spilling off half-empty shelves, the toilets (for me what was once the main attraction in the shop) are closed, and there are mugs and other breakable crap – rather than bestsellers – at the front of the shop. The place looks like the set for a disaster movie, which is why for as long as it remains open I’ll continue to goof around in this wrecked ‘retail’ space…
That said, now Borders is closing I only go for the ambiance (rather than ‘Toilet Love’), and to laugh at those buying goods that after being marked up to more than twice their market value are currently being sold at between 20% and 50% ‘discount’. One of the things that caused me to chuckle on the ground floor of Borders while I was enjoying the chaos there on Friday was a display of Redemption DVDs. These were priced at £7.99 minus 30% discount (i.e. £5.60), and there were some Eurosleaze classics among them including a whole bunch of Jean Rollin lesbian vampire movies… But you can buy many of these on Amazon Market Place for around £4 (including postage), or if you can’t wait for them to arrive by mail, all the titles in Borders and many more are sold in Lovejoys a couple of minutes walk down Charing Cross Road at £6.99 each or 2 for £12 (i.e. £6 each when you buy two – not greatly more than the Borders sale price). Likewise I’ve seen these Redemption titles around in secondhand shops at about £3. Which means, of course,  that even in the Borders sale, these items (like most of their discounted stock) still pan out as being more expensive than picking them up elsewhere. So don’t bother with the sale, just dig the collapse…. or go in dressed in an over-sized coat….
And talking of Redemption, I read a truly bizarre story by Lucy Tobin about this company in The Evening Standard on Thursday 10 December, entitled Film firm that made Koo a star collapses: “The cult movie empire whose back catalogue includes the risqué films of Prince Andrew’s former lover Koo Stark has collapsed into administration. Redemption Films, based in Wigmore Street, Soho, was set up by Nigel Wingrove, Britain’s answer to Hustler publisher Larry Flynt. Administrators were called in today at the distributor of gothic horror movies, whose past titles range from Sinful Nuns Of St Valentine to Ms Stark’s cult 1977 hit The Marquis De Sade’s Justine….”
There is a lot of misinformation to unpack in this story, but let’s start with the headline, since Redemption Films did not make Koo Stark a star. Redemption was set up in the 1990s and Stark became a minor starlet on the back of a couple of mid-seventies movies –  Emily (1976) and Cruel Passion AKA De Sade’s Justine (1977) – and then briefly a media celebrity in the 1980s when she dated inbred British royal brat Prince Andrew (“The Duke of York”). All Redemption did was acquire some of Stark’s back catalogue as a film actress and issue it on VHS tape and then DVD long after she’d become a household name in the UK.
Likewise, I find the idea of Redemption being a soft porn ’empire’ on the same scale as Larry Flynt’s American Hustler operation risible (it is about on a par with suggesting that ‘Boris Johnson is Britain’s answer to Barack Obama’). During the 1990s my friend Nik Houghton worked for Nigel Wingrove and I went into their office on the odd occasion; at that time the business consisted of Wingrove and his part-time assistant Nik in a moderately sized room. Wingrove’s operation may have grown a bit since then, and it has definitely moved to a slightly more upmarket address, but it is still closer to a cult-film one-man band than a porn empire! However, as ever with The Standard, the point of the piece seems to be to pack in as much gossip as possible, rather than to report news. Therefore it should surprise no one that Wingrove’s professional involvement with Georgina Baillie – ‘the granddaughter of Andrew Sachs who was at the centre of the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand telephone scandal’ – gets a passing mention too.
For anyone who has looked into the ways cult films and music are milked for profits, I’d see Redemption going into administration as business as usual within this sector of the culture industry. Cult means niche and there are usually very few buyers for operations in really specialist areas like Oi! music or Eurosleaze films; therefore a businessman (or woman) who knows their way around one of these ‘cult’ areas will often run their limited liability company into bankruptcy while paying themselves a hefty salary. This is a way of writing off debts, because the ‘former’ owner can buy up the assets of the concern they’ve deliberately run down for less than a song: they use another company they’ve set up for this purpose and then proceed to do the same thing again, and again, and again! And what’s more, given that we live in a capitalist society, this is more or less legal! It is precisely the sort of thing so called ‘wealth generators’ do for ‘a living’ and illustrates why businessmen and bankers should not be allowed to reward themselves with anything above an average workers’ wage, let alone ‘bonuses’. I don’t know if this is how Nigel Wingrove operates, but I am familiar with other individuals working in the cult sector of the culture industry who do business this way.
If Wingrove was planning to write off his debts by buying himself out, The Standard story could be bad news for him, since it might stir up interest from other ‘wealth generators’. That said, Wingrove is also a film-maker himself, so perhaps he just wants out…. Moving on, if you believe what you read in The Standard, you may well have been hoaxed into thinking I wrote the Belle de Jour blog and books, so it isn’t exactly surprising their Nigel Wingrove and Redemption Films story is so inaccurate!
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Fi-Fi Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum on 2009-12-13 12:44:57 +0000

I think I’ll become a Sinful Nun Of St Valentine, I already look like one. I dyed my hair pink, I looks nice.
BTW: I didn’t tell you this.

Comment by fiona farmer on 2009-12-13 14:55:45 +0000

OO-ar OOar!!

Comment by Wild Man Fischer on 2009-12-13 15:22:10 +0000

My name is Larry and I’m a Satanic lesbian vampire nun!

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-12-13 15:56:59 +0000

The crazy thing about the Borders closing down sale is the fact that they removed all of the pre-existing offers, such as 3 for 2 and Buy One Get One Half Price, and replaced with the 20% off everything which in many cases made the stock MORE expensive than it had been before… didn’t stop half the world descending on the store and stripping the stock like a plague of locusts, leaving with their arms full, smug that they’d bagged so many ‘bargains’ that were too good to miss (while also completely missing the fact they’d been cheaper on Amazon all along).

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-12-13 16:24:46 +0000

Good points not made in the blog Chris…. And there is so much that is ridiculous about so called sales… But you’re right, with the end of the 3 for 2 etc. offers, some things went up in price despite the closing sale ‘discount’ compared to their cost in the old offers. My understanding of the front table offers (3 for 2 etc.) is that the publishers paid to participate in them; since Borders was clearly in trouble, the publishers withdrew (in fact a couple of big ones were refusing to supply Borders at all) and so they were no longer viable.
As for closing down bargains, there just don’t seem to be any. You’d have thought people would have learnt that lesson from earlier closures…. Woolworths and Zavvi stock that had been priced at around £8 in their closing down sales turned up after liquidation in outlets like Poundland, FOPP and Head (and the last store seems to have been set up at least initially to deal with liquidated Zavvi stock) for between £1 and £3 (and you could see which defunct outlet had previously planned to sell it these items from stickering that hadn’t been removed). The lesson being that if you want a bargain wait until after the shop has closed…..

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-12-13 16:46:32 +0000

Quite so… Head in Leeds (which is in the old Zavvi building) is one huge bin-end sale, but amongst the piles and piles and PILES of ‘limited edition’ copies of Robbie Williams’ last flop there are some really great back-catalogue albums which I suspect may be ex-warehouse stock rather than store remainders being kicked out for a couple of quid. So yes, the bargains are to be had, but not in the closing down sales.

Comment by The Velvet Groover on 2009-12-13 17:15:37 +0000

I ran into the Marquis de Sade in the Salinas branch of Walmart on Friday evening, we ducked into some toilets and I totally blew his mind with my Californian anal love beads!

Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-12-13 17:16:39 +0000

Good riddance!

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-12-13 17:46:47 +0000

One of my first purchases in Borders when it opened here was the Grove Press edition of 120 Days of Sodom… and I still maintain that Sade was one of the greatest comedy writers of all time.

Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-12-13 17:53:08 +0000

Almost as funny as Samuel Beckett

Comment by Sex Dwarf on 2009-12-13 18:07:26 +0000

The ink fumes on new books are okay but you’d do better with a bag of glue, it’s the smell of dirty old and heavily stained used books that really gets me going…. they turn me on!
PS. ++HARDCORE MIDGET SEX DVDs FOR SALE++ free delivery. If you love hardcore midget porn you must check out our website we have THE hardest dwarf porn on the net!

Comment by Penis Sisters on 2009-12-13 18:26:02 +0000

I never encountered a single chick with a dick in the old Borders in-store male toilets at either Oxford Street or Charing X Road in London. If you want fun with a chick with a dick, try checking out central London phone booths for contact cards instead!

Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-12-13 18:54:40 +0000

Almost as funny as Samuel Beckett
i didnt say that. someone is coming in here pretending to be me again. this multiple identity thing has stopped being funny ages ago.

Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-12-13 18:55:49 +0000

Actually I think both Sade and Beckett are funny – but not as funny as Al Ackerman.

Comment by Donatien Alphonse François de Sade on 2009-12-13 19:00:01 +0000

I’ve already told you: the only way to a woman’s heart is along the path of torment. I know none other as sure.
Boom boom!

Comment by Donatien Alphonse François de Sade on 2009-12-13 19:00:26 +0000

It’s the way I tell em

Comment by Doctor Emery on 2009-12-13 19:13:38 +0000

Marquis de Sade sees a tramp asleep on a bench, so he buggers him. Then he leaves him a bottle of 100 Pipers as compensation. Next week, he sees him again, so he buggers him in his sleep. Then he leaves him a bottle of 100 Pipers as compensation. A month later, he sees him again, so he buggers him in his sleep. Then he leaves him a bottle of 100 Pipers as compensation.
5 years later, the tramp becomes a famous artist. He’s at a gallery and somebody offers him a glass of 100 Pipers. “No thank you” he says, “100 Pipers gives me a sore arse!”

Comment by The Marquis de Sade on 2009-12-13 19:53:31 +0000

Happiness lies neither in vice nor in virtue; but in the manner we appreciate the one and the other, and the choice we make pursuant to our individual organization.
Toot toot!

Comment by fi on 2009-12-13 19:56:02 +0000

I didn’t say that. Nor did I.

Comment by The Marquis de Sade on 2009-12-13 20:57:46 +0000

i didnt say that. someone is coming in here pretending to be me again. this multiple identity thing has stopped being funny ages ago.

Comment by THE PLAGIARIST on 2009-12-13 21:09:58 +0000

I could have sworn someone else said that!

Comment by arse on 2009-12-13 21:15:16 +0000

100 Pipers? Bugger me!

Comment by The Marquis de Sade on 2009-12-13 21:24:22 +0000

I love the smell of whore’s farts in the morning, I’d rather sniff a few of those than read a book any day, even one of my own books!

Comment by arse on 2009-12-13 21:34:01 +0000

Toot toot!

Comment by THE PLAGIARIST on 2009-12-13 21:38:23 +0000

….a strange sense of deja lu….

Comment by Georgina Baillie on 2009-12-13 23:47:53 +0000

Sniff my dirty panties, I’ll mail them to you sealed for only £50 per pair plus recorded delivery postage to where ever you are in the world!

Comment by THE PLAGIARIST DE SADE on 2009-12-14 12:29:13 +0000

Eat my shirt, bitch! Oh yes… oh yes… oh yes…

Comment by davekelsomitchell on 2009-12-14 12:44:04 +0000

The whole ‘electronic publishing’ hokey is a big con – nobody be fooled by the ‘ireader’ or iphone’ or ‘ebook’ nonsense. This is just another co nlaid down by the publishing industry to try and derail you from noticinig the fact that the are not investing in new writers or anything relevant… but rather trying to recreate the scenario that occured within the music industry back in the 80s when the CD format was hailed as the saviour of music.
We were told that CDs were of superior audio qulaity (highly arguable) and that they were indestructible (bullshit). What really occured is that the industry persuaded millions of 30-something dickheads to replace all their collection of shite 60s and 70s ‘materpieces’ in an improved format. Asa result they managed to avoid investing in any new bands or new music which forced genuinely creative people into a real (for the first time) ‘underground’.
What I reccomend everyone do now is form small collectives which will link with other sympathetic small collectives and use POD and internet outlets to seriously undermine the stranglehold that the mass-market has on creativity. Eventually, I foresee the small independent bookshops ven beinig able to make a comeback after being squeezed off the market by the big bookchains like Waterstones.

Comment by davekelsomitchell on 2009-12-14 13:22:39 +0000

please excuse my shit typos in the last post – I need a new keyboard as my kids have been hammering specific keys playing internet games in here.

Comment by Lesley Robinson on 2009-12-14 19:03:46 +0000

a chap –
Dave Kelso-Mitchell suggested on Foucault,
How about ‘120 Days of Doing 69 Things with a Dead Princess’?
tis a silly thought…but anyhow…lol…i love it…because now you’re *ucking talking…postmodern… …perhaps…Foucault…contextualise them both…or visualising both these scripts as Paul Feyerabend would say…’anything goes’ – Against Method…or…contextualise Foucault against ‘anything goes’ with 120 Days of Doing 69 Things with a Dead Princess?

Comment by Simon Strong on 2009-12-15 06:22:29 +0000

Ah…. Nigel Wingrove changed my life! Redemption introduced me the whole glorious eurosleaze vector at the arse-end of thatcherism. It was the end of the video nasty scare I tell yer! The fact the flix were butchered and crappily transferred didn’t matter… Without Wingrove, we may not have had Tohill & Tombs’ Immoral Tales. It was the invention of cinema!

Comment by fi on 2009-12-15 10:19:45 +0000

you are a staring at a box made of metal that was made in a sweatshop in Asia

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-12-15 13:14:33 +0000

Dave, couldn’t agree more – the future of publishing isn’t thr publishing industry….

Comment by fi on 2009-12-15 17:06:37 +0000


Comment by davekelsomitchell on 2009-12-16 08:04:32 +0000

Why are you shouting?

Comment by simon on 2009-12-17 20:18:15 +0000

because i have my hand up her, working her like a puppet

Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-12-20 10:18:07 +0000

God Simon, you havent lost your charm have you? I hear you’re a bit of a hit on the Asian dating sites.

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