Creator: Silver Screen Collection | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2016 Silver Screen Collection
When I was a young man I watched the movie Cabaret and fell in love with Sally Bowles played by Liza Minnelli. On stage Sally exuded self confident sexuality but off stage she was sweet and vulnerable. I was so taken with the world the film portrayed that I began to read the Chistopher Isherwood books it was based on. The city described by Isherwood was living on borrowed time and the Nazis destroyed that freedom and in the years that followed the Soviet Union imposed a drab authoritarian regime on half the city while the western half was an isolated outpost of capitalism.
If I had been a time traveller I would have headed for the Berlin of Isherwood but in the real world all I could do was watch the film again and again and fantasize about Liza/Sally (I’m sure that is where my love of a woman in stockings and suspenders started) And then the wall came down and the city came back to life.
In the years after I had to visit the city often for work and explored it’s bars, cafes, galleries, museums and inevitably its brothels. There was an enlightened view of sex work that meant it was legal and well managed. There were numerous brothels which had none of the seediness that was common in London and the women who worked there were treated well.
I had only a little German but most of the girls spoke English and I had some wonderful relaxed afternoons that made me love the city even more. Many of those brothels have gone and there are now some mega brothels in their place. I haven’t visited them myself and they have no appeal to me. I have it on good authority, however, that if you are young and enjoy sex there are plenty of places where you will find like minded people. Sadly I while I enjoy sex and still love pushing my limits an apparently respectable old man is unlikely to be welcome in such places.
The extraordinary Templehof airport in the city centre where we used to land and walk straight to our hotel (and where the planes flew in during the Berlin AirLift) is long gone and the city itself has changed at a staggering pace though it still retains some of its charm and some extraordinary historical reminders. Sitting in the national stadium watching Hertha Berlin play just a few yards from where Hitler had addressed those huge crowds was a strange experience.
I rarely visit these days and when I do my wife is with me. But I do miss the sex. Having illicit sex felt like I was honouring the tradition of decadence that Berlin had for so many years. One of the old style brothels does survive though. Liberty rather splendidly is just behind the famous KaDeWe department store on the Kudam! When we visit that store I hope my wife doesn’t notice the wistful look on my face. I keep hoping that something will come up requiring me to visit the city alone one more time - even a day trip so I could relive one of those afternoons of 30 years ago would make an old man happy!.
The realisation that I have been seeing Sex Workers for more than half my life came as something of a shock but prompted me to look back at how things used to be and how they have changed in my home town of London and elsewhere. There have been some great times and a few disasters too. Along the way I will look back at some of the amazing people I’ve met and reflect on some of things I have experienced.
At the very beginning I want to be clear that I believe Sex Workers do an important job and that our deeply hypocritical society treats them appallingly. They are entitled to be respected and treated as the professionals they are. The job is a tough, even dangerous one, and Sex Workers need help to stay safe instead all too often across the world efforts are made to drive out them out of business and increase the risks they face.
The Independent Sex Workers I know are talented, confident and take care of themselves and their clients. I also know there are women who are being exploited in many ways both here in the UK and across the world. The English Collective of Prostitutes seems to me to be a sane organisation and I support their campaign to decriminalise prostitution.
I know that I am lucky to be able to enjoy the services of women who are independent and have made a choice and there are two I see regularly. They have web pages and I think it is only fair if I share them with others who might also want to use their services - but you need to treat them with respect.
The Ultimate Courtesan is a remarkable and independent young woman from London – bright, beautiful and articulate – time spent with her is always quality time
Jade Heart is an independent escort based in Newcastle (though her very discreet flat is on the Gateshead side in fact) – she is warm, funny and makes you feel so good!
An old man called Mike remembers sex in London before the internet, rants about the hypocrisy of today's society and shares some links to the best companions around today......