William Serpent’s Tail Press
London, 2002
ISBN: 1852426853
"I recently had the unfortunate experience of sitting through the latest piece of Danish dogshit from Lars Von Trier, Dancer in the Dark," writes alternative film reviewer Mikita Brottman in a new book out from ever-unruly Serpent’s Tail in the UK, "the only bearable moment of which was when that wailing pixie Bjork had her vocal chords snapped by the hangman’s noose."
         Oh. Sorry. She gave away the ending.
         If the women writing in Inappropriate Behaviour are anything, they are unpredictable. The twenty-nine essays in this book, tagged on the press releases and back cover blurbs as "essential reading for all modern thinkers who refuse to sell their souls for the latest pair of Manolo Blahniks, who have had enough of magazine features telling them how to satisfy their men in bed, how to live on lettuce and how to look like Jennifer Aniston …", do more to free women from the shackles of mass-marketed plastic modernity than any collection of similar essays in nearly a…well, I’ve never read any. Yowza. Bring on the new girl order!
         The essays on mothers and motherhood that start the book range from the matricidal rantings of Helen Hastings humming ‘Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her Mother forty whacks and when she saw what she had done she gave her Father forty-one,’ to the heartfelt epitaph of Russ Meyer ‘sex-kitten’ Haji writing to her dead mother about how difficult it is to raise children.
         Penny Birch has intimate knowledge of octopi. With two degrees in zoology she once aimed to become an expert in mollusks. Unfortunately, she got a little too close to the subject and in her essay ‘The relationship of the octopus to human sexuality’ you glimpse why. "Octopus foreplay lasts hours, gentle stroking and probing with the tentacles, particularly the sperm arm," she writes. "No two-minute wonders here. To mate, the tip of the sperm arm is inserted into the female’s mantle cavity, which is not very different from the human vagina. There is more tentacle than is going to fit inside you, but think of being licked out by a man with a three-foot tongue–a man who never tires and demands nothing in return."
         Keep your girlfriends away from this book, guys. It looks like we have competition. Kathleen Kiirik Bryson’s investigation into the history of bestiality could send her fancies astray. Hide the bulls. Shelter the horses. Once the girls see the farm, how are you going to keep them down in the city?
         Globalization is trashed with a vengeance by Jade Fox. Debbie Barham rips Bridget Jones and ‘Jones Clones’ fuckwit fiction a new asshole. Drag Queen, Miss Kimberly, speaks out against breast cancer, and Jessica ‘don’t call me Henry’ Kinsinger debates body hair shaving. Annabel Chong, best known for setting a porn star video record of sex with 251 men in ten hours, issues a duodenum tickling tale about shit, scat, and other smelly substances. Katherine Gates loves her guns (not those guns, guys, real guns), is proud of it and gets highly aroused from shooting them off. Katrina S. tackles the shackles of bondage in ‘Medieval mayhem in the midlands’ and 64-year-old belly dancer Zaida shows you don’t have to be young to shake your booty. Julia Collings reveals the all too appropriate (considering the latest news) revelation of how growing up Catholic primed her for a perfect life of masochism.
         No, they are not household names (well, maybe in the flophouse) and perhaps they never will be, but they do have different views that this reviewer found highly refreshing.
         Yet the book’s packaging promotes it as shock-lit, as a freak show of sorts, which deprives it of its magic. Individually, each of these authors is too hard for many mainstream publishers to touch, so putting them in one book is a way to produce an ‘anti-book’ that is so rude and crude that it is publishable. This says more about mainstream publishing tastes than the book’s contents. Still, Innapropriate Behaviour is a fresh blow of whisky breath in an all-too-often chewing gum and bottled-water publishing world.