Lit Crit: Blakely St James

The amazing thing about Blakely St James is there are many copies of his books on Amazon, but no one has yet written a review.  I think I’ve read three of them.  I say ‘his’, I’m referring to a group of writers.  I am hoping they came up with the name because one of them had a Barclay James Harvest album on the shelf.  The name has an air of improbable 1970s cosmopolitan international man-about-town about it.  White suits, silk scarves, an Aston Martin in the driveway.

And I say read.  Actually, it was more calling out passages to a friend who I went on a cheap holiday to Spain with.  Fishing around the local supermarket amongst the orange netting bags of beach balls and the tins of Heinz Baked Beans, we found the paperback carousel.  And there were many examples of the BSJ canon: Christina’s Touch, Christina’s Quest, Christina’s Need, Christina’s Passion.  Well, you get the idea.

The great thing about the BSJ novels is that they were written to a pretty consistent formula.  Young innocent girl encounters men and women of various professions and has sex.  Though how she kept that air of innocence into Book Three, I’ll never know.  Also – and this is the important thing – the similes used in the descriptions always related to the profession of the person she’d encountered.  The one I can remember was when she had sex with a vicar (brace yourselves): ‘His sperm bounced like clouds around the cathedral walls of my vagina.’

I can’t help thinking it was a hoot writing them.  Dreaming up double-entendres and profession-related puns.  The Good Reads website (I’m not kidding) lists one of the authors as William E. Butterworth III, which has got to be another pseudonym, and suggests an infinite regression of such identities finally arriving at a bloke called Bob operating out of King’s Cross Station.

I once had a friend whose job was to write the letters for Mayfair.  Pretending to be a female reader who could recount in detail a sexual encounter on a British Rail carriage, at a supermarket, or in a library.  And that, of course, is all it ever was: men writing fantasies for men.

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