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The Week in Radio: In the Red Room of pain


Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele

Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele

Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele

Sticks and stones. They (may) break my bones. Whips and chains? They excite me!

Actually, they don’t. Excite me, that is. I’m more into tender kissin’ and lovely cuddlin’ and romantic promenadin’ in parks. Honest, guv.

I’m merely repeating some old playground rhyming I heard a) back in the day (when I had not one clue what it all meant), and, b) latterly from Rhianna (when I knew full well what it meant, but was too bored and old to give much of a shit).

Anyhoo, I mention it because this

was a week when whips, chains and cable ties were unavoidably everywhere. It was a week when creaky and grizzled male presenters banged on ad nauseam (emphasis on the nausea) about the painful pleasures of sensual flogging etc.

Yup, we’re talking, or they were talking, 50 Shades of Grey. Just loosed onto and into Irish cinemas and already provoking, ahem, quite a stir. “Every word that you use for 50 Shades of Grey appears to have a double entendre,” joked the film’s cinematographer Seamus McGarvey on Saturday’s The Picture Show, setting the tone for much of the week.

He’d been telling host Philip Molloy about “no willy clauses” and “precisely choreographed” sex scenes, before detailing the film’s changing palette as it (breathlessly) built towards its “denouement.” Or climax. Phnarr.

You half-expected to hear the insertion (ooer) of a cheekily rising slide whistle, but Molloy and his producers showed admirable...I’m trying to think of a non-loaded word here...restraint?

There was no such withholding of the entendres, double or singular, on Monday’s Newstalk Breakfast. In studio with Ivan Yates and Chris Donoghue was Nora Owen - or “Newstalk’s latest sex correspondent” - as Yates disturbingly dubbed her.

Owen, fresh from a viewing of what Yates hyperbolically called “one of the most anticipated films ever,” chatted about personal experience with cable ties, the...erection of election posters, and how Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey) was “a bit woodener” than co-star Dakota Johnson.

“Wooden...wood!” splurted Yates, attempting to squeeze every last drop of juvenile/schoolboy mileage out of the whole (hole?) business, and as a whip-cracking backing-track punctuated Owen’s comments.

The most ear-opening revelation was that Christian Grey’s “Red Room” - wherein he keeps all his instruments of kink, I think – is/was, Owen said, “like your studio here.”

“Red walls,” she dreamily added, “rows of...handcuffs and things to beat people with...things to hang people out of.”

Donoghue quickly denied the link, but the secret was out and the damage was done. Done, that is, to aghast listeners whose imaginations had – if they’re fragile like mine - become instantly dominated with upsetting visions of Yates knee-deep in PVC, paddles and ball-gags.

The worst was yet to come. Well actually it had already happened, on Friday’s Pat Kenny Show, where Kenny discussed BDSM “safety words” (words that can call an instant halt to BDSM encounters) with clinical sexologist” Emily Power Smith.

What, Kenny wondered, would “good safety words to stop things in their tracks” actually be? “Pat Kenny,” quipped Power Smith.

“No, Enda Kenny!” replied Kenny, as Power Smith said “Ohhhh!” and I said “Aaaaah!” and the nation screamed for the pain to end.

The Picture Show, Newstalk, Saturday

Newstalk Breakfast, Newstalk, Weekdays

The Pat Kenny Show, Newstalk, Weekdays