Sassy by name, Sassy by nature, I write to explode the myths which surround the lapdancing profession - standing up for the clubs, the girls and the customers. Its not always drinking champagne and playing with my tits - it can be hassle, hustling and hangovers. At heart I'm just a regular twenty-something posh cockney living in London who likes taking her clothes off...
‘Funny Money’ is a beautiful animated short by Issy Muir, a Kingston University student who was inspired by my stories about my life as a lapdancer and the reasons behind the East London Strippers Collective.
Female voices and experiences are gaining importance and are increasingly heard with #metoo, female quotas for governments and company boards, and outspoken role models in music, film and writing. But despite all this, the life of workers within the adult industry is frequently misunderstood or portrayed negatively. ‘Funny Money’ is one University graduate’s attempt to re-balance that one-sided, frequently misogynistic or negative conversation.
The film aims to shed light on the collective’s mission to disturb the patriarchal conventions on which the industry was built and to educate the public about their misrepresented and misunderstood livelihoods.
Using hand-drawn illustrations in a simple colour palette of red, black and white, Issy’s images pack a powerful punch. She used extracts from the stripping novel that I am working on as inspiration for the dancer’s journey into work. Whilst the spoken words are not mine, I could see flashes of my writing inside the cartoon.
feet scurrying down some steps till I reach an inconspicuous door labelled ‘Private’. I open it up, and step from the quiet, anonymous corridor into what we call in the industry ‘the henhouse’.
I get to the doors. Two big burly guys stand either side – the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum of the sex industry I guess.
The voiceover is by a friend of mine, the amazingly talented Kitty Velour. She’s been an enthusiastic member of the East London Strippers Collective, promoting, producing and of course performing at ELSC events since they started in 2014.
When Issy first got in contact I was touched by her youthful good intentions;
I want it to be a positive and engaging insight into the world of a stripper and to get honest opinions and stories from the dancers themselves which I will then put together and hopefully create a beautiful and interesting little film!
For some reason, exotic dancing seems to lend itself really well to cartoons. Jacq the stripper has amassed a cult following from her illustrations, exotic dancer GIFs are taking over the internet and far too many of my stage outfits are inspired by anime. But I think that work like Issy Muir’s ‘Funny Money’, in which an artist sought out women who strip for genuine collaborations, is incredibly important. We need a proliferation of collaborative, supportive voices to document our lives as strippers, activists and real men and women, rather than a tired cliche.