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Re: How was the meeting?
Dec 11, 2002, 10:51
Indeed I went, a most interesting (in its way) meeting. Arrivd to find two coppers on the door - there because the European Manager of Spearmint Rhino had turned up, along with a couple of 'the girls' and his security bod (who used to work for the council, shock horror, negotiating contracts for places like...Spearmint Rhino), and they probably feared they'd get lynched. Bloody loads of media there too - apparently there was a 5 minute slot on the local news going out live!

Meeting itself tried awfully hard to be ever so polite and reasonable - but that didn't last too long really. Bloke from SR defending themselves, another from the 'Cultural Industries Quarter' (another quango based round promoting the area the strip club is to be) saying why they couldn't really oppose it, a self-appointed do gooder (from the SWP, not that she said that, strangely) & the Womens Officer from the University - which has recently built a new set of student flats, which are right next to where the SR will be!

You can probably guess most of the things that were said, it's a perfectly decent place; abuse of women; not only 'gentlemen' who went there (he meant 'ladies' too, but it still got a right good laugh); lures women into prostitution, what about the kiddies, is this the image we want, blaah blaah blah. There was very little moralism - of the we just don't want them dirty types here - or off the 'why dont you just set up in Attercliffe' (where there are already a couple of strip joints and various other kinds of sex club), most of the arguments were based around women's safety (in and outside the club) and the blatant sexism of it - especially the (absolutely vast) numbers of posters around the city. There were a couple of speakers who went against the general mood - one (a woman who runs an erotica store, clothing and accessories generally rather than porn) who told people to stop being so f'ing prissy, it's only sex, and a couple of people who were far more up for defending the rights of the women in the club, unionising them, which would probably do more to make the inside of the club a lot safer, and to oppose the stigmatisation of some of the people who work in the sex industry. they got a smatterring of support. o there were also a few small business owners from the Cultural Industries Quarter who spoke saying how it would impact upon there businesses, because they run creative companies and a strip club would just put them off there work (sadly no one seemed tohear my comment that that didn't seem to do Toulouse Latrec much harm)

Eventually the meeting decided - well it didn't really, the SWP (with a couple of other feminist types) had already decided, and even printed up leaflets - that there would be a protest called outside the opening of the club on saturday, calling for it to be shut down. Expect lots of 'fun' costumes, bad placards, and streams of abuse at the saddo's who go in there. The SWP woman did insist that she supported the call for unionisation and would join work to unionise the women. Quite how you can argue for both is somewhat beyond me - 'join a union to defend your working conditions, and to put yourself pout of a job'. Don't think I'd recruit many people to a union on that basis somehow.

Be interesting to see what is in the papers about it today.
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