Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Eau de Pleasuredrome

I’m just eating hummus, the light-brown gritty substance that has become world-famous thanks to the fabulous B3ta. I had to stop two-thirds through when my normally passive brain chipped in with ‘this must be what the floor of Pleasuredrome tastes like’.

For those of you who are delightfully ignorant of the place, Pleasuredrome is one of those wendy saunas full of elderly corpulent gentlemen passing the time by patrolling corrugated corridors and trying to make eye contact with anything under 45 years or 30 stone. One recalls that scene from Labyrinth when Jennifer Connelly was slipping down a hole and all those hands were trying to grab her. As it’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you wonder when they clean the place – well, in truth it appears that they don’t. The Jacuzzi has a worrying oily film on the top of the water, and the floor is that aforementioned gritty texture that could be deliberate for safety, but is more likely crystallised salt from... well, you know what. Hence it’s beloved moniker: ‘The Palace of Grit and Jism‘.

I understand that it has recently had a refit – heaven forefend what would have happened when they moved some of those mattresses. They say that those pesky Romans had condoms made out of the muscle tissue of their enemies, and the oldest European condoms were found at the site of the battles between Oliver Cromwell and soldiers loyal to King Charles I in the foundations of Dudley Castle near Birmingham. It was a close-run thing as there are some down the back of a mattress in Pleasuredrome that clearly belonged to Edward II by the look of them. And there was one clearly labelled ‘Geronimo’.

Pleasuredrome was a rare pleasure for me: my haunt was a little more upmarket. Sailors Sauna in Limehouse was on the way home, you see and upmarket in the sense that they had Changing Rooms on in the TV lounge and not porn. Of course, I haven’t been back in over a year, but I was told that they’d erected a blue plaque on the wall, and a glass case rests over my last towel, glued to the crash mat on the third floor by numerous emissions. It is said that whoever manages to remove it will call me back to the place, to roam the corridors like a white-towelled minotaur and spear anything that comes across my path.

Just like the old days, really.

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