Private Shops, the UK's largest chain of licensed stores is embarking on a refurbishment programme that has already transformed a dozen branches into female-friendly outlets.
The new stores are warm purple with white highlights and feature the taglines Your Intimate Lifestyle and The Adult Store You Can Trust on their windows. The product line has been updated and now places more emphasis on couple-friendly
products and lingerie.
Mike Wallace of Private Shops explained:
We wanted to get away from the shabby perception that some people have about licensed stores. Even now there are people who are too embarrassed to enter a traditional licensed shop, perhaps because they expect it to be male-focused, so we've tried to
make our stores as welcoming as we can, while still adhering to the licensing restrictions we are placed under by different councils.
A gay sex cinema has lost its battle with Islington Council to get back its licence and now faces imminent closure. A council snitch had reported that he had visited and found men kissing and fondling each other.
On Wednesday, a Highbury Magistrates' Court district judge rejected an appeal by the owners, after finding the licensee Mr Papworth had a complete failure of understanding of the rules.
Cllr Paul Convery, a moralist prude who had campaigned against the cinema for months said:
People might say this is the council moralising, but it really isn't. What people get up to in private is up to them ...BUT... this is not in private, it's a public place in a high street and if they breach lawful conditions, consequences follow.
We're not being prudish; we're reflecting public opinion.
Resident and film historian David McGillivray called the decision to revoke Oscars licence, The end of an era:
I believe it has always served a small minority of men who are mainly respectable and well-behaved. London was once full of these establishments but now there are very few left. I hope people are not making moral judgments about this venue, which adds to
the variety and diversity of the area.
The council was awarded full costs of £7,775 from Oscars.
Update: Unappealing Appeal
16th June 2014
Abcat gay cinema on the Caledonian Road in Kings Cross was set to appeal against Islington Council revoking the cinema licence. But the loss of a very similar appeal by Oscar's cinema led to the venue dropping the appeal. The outlook seems grim for the
Lovehoney report that sales of sex toys to men have soared since the publication of Fifty Shades of Grey in 2012. Written by British E L James, it's sold over 100 million copies worldwide and is currently being made into a very softcore Hollywood
Grey, a gorgeous billionaire with a Red Room for his BDSM antics, has inspired British men to be better and more adventurous in bed, according to Love Honey.
They credit the book's phenomenal success and - the TV show Sex and the City - for transforming the male sex toy market, which is now worth a staggering £10 million a year and is predicted to be the fastest growing sector of the sex toy
industry in 2014. Tracey Cox working with LoveHoney says:
Sales of male sex toys have been steadily increasing over the last decade and it is the fastest growing sector in the market.
We think lots of men will try out these new toys in the hope of improving their performance in bed. And lots of women will buy the products for their partners for the same reason!
Cox highlights a range of male sex toys including: the Adjustable Stamina Ring, a silicone ring designed to make erections last longer and look more impressive and the Stamina Ring Set, doughnut-shaped rings in three sizes for contrasting tightness and
intensity. Finally, the Intense Stimulation Stamina Sleeve is used to intensify 'solo sex and Extreme Sensation Personal Lubricant can be used safely on both men and women.
A bump in the sale of blindfolds, whips and handcuffs believed to have been inspired by erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey was not enough to prevent the Irish business of lingerie and sex toy retailer, Ann Summers plunging into the red last
Accounts for the British retailer's two Irish firms showed combined pre-tax losses of EUR421,669 for the 12 months covered by the latest report which coincided with the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon.
In the aftermath of the trilogy topping the book charts in the summer of 2012, Ann Summers reported an increase in sales in a host of products associated with the books across its store network. In the months after Fifty Shades hitting No 1 in the book
charts, the retailer also reported a 60% increase in the sale of blindfolds; a 35% increase in the sale of rope ties; a 30% increase in sale of leather and metal handcuffs and a 15% increase in the sale of both whips and restraints.
However, that short-term jump in sales for those items didn't translate into higher revenues for Ann Summers in Ireland.
Islington Council is attempting to prosecute the operators of a gay sex cinema.
Fantasy Video at 279 City Road, Finsbury, had its licence revoked last October following an undercover investigation by a council snitch who reported sexual activity taking place. Neighbours also complained of hearing sexual films through the walls. But,
according to neighbours, the business is still operating.
Cllr Paul Convery, executive member for censorship, said a prosecution case was underway and two other types of enforcement have also started in a bid to shut the premises down once and for all. He said:
The prosecution is being prepared. It's a complex case which both the operator of the premises and the freeholder are not co-operating with. We are also preparing an injunction and taking action under the Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Act. We are
appealing to neighbours and the public to come forward which will strengthen the case.
He said he expected the prosecution to take about two months.
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Bolton Council have a approved a new policy effectively banning new table dancing clubs and sex shops.
Under the guidelines pole dancing clubs, strip shows and sex cinemas will not be allowed to open near schools, houses, parks, tourist attractions, religious buildings or any existing entertainment venues.
Cllr Nick Peel, the member in charge of licensing, said in reality it means new applicants looking to open a sexual entertainment venue in Bolton will find it very difficult. He said:
The criteria doesn't really leave much left in terms of areas.
We have not been overrun with sex applications -- it just doesn't happen -- but the government said we had to have a policy.
Existing establishments will probably be okay with the new rules, as this is not retrospective and they will continue to apply for the licences every year in the usual way.