I have just finished one of the funniest books I have ever read. ‘Once More, With Feeling’ is written by Victoria Coren (yes, she presents Only Connect and yes, she’s married to David Mitchell) and Charlie Skelton and is also subtitled ‘How we tried to make the greatest porn film ever’. The subtitle, although sums up the book quite perfectly, is not just what this book is about. Originally published in 2003, the book tells the true story of how Coren and Skelton decide, after spending some considerable time reviewing pornographic films, that they could do a much better job. The story takes our duo to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and then to Amsterdam in their quest to become pornographers. They meet a huge plethora of people, each with their own story to tell providing a true picture of the industry they work in.
This book is not for the prudish or feint hearted, but despite it being very rude (for want of a better word) it is not in itself pornographic. What you get is a very personal account of two individuals trying to understand the world of pornography. I originally found out about this book after I had read Victoria Coren’s book ‘For Richer, For Poorer’, and thought it looked very good. Subsequently I bought it as a Secret Santa present for a member of my book group. She read it, and loved it! Admittedly she is a big Victoria Coren fan but I don’t think you need to be a fan to enjoy this book. I also don’t think that it is necessarily a book aimed at males or females – it is a book that can be enjoyed by all, as long you don’t mind reading about hard core pornography.
The book itself is written as shared narrative which at first seems strange but you soon get used to it after just a few pages. After reading for a while it is easy to spot which parts are written by Coren and which are written by Skelton. Both are clearly quite skilled in this type of writing, the book is witty, insightful, often sentimental and almost always very funny. It is clear that the authors haven’t just taken on this endeavour for laughs, they genuinely want to know more about the industry and they want their film to be the best it can be; but most importantly, they care about the people they meet and work with throughout. One of the many reasons why I enjoyed this book so much wasn’t just because it is funny, but because there is a sense of true caring from the authors towards the actors they are working with.
I would highly recommend this book to others, the only caveat being that they must be prepared to be completely desensitised, very quickly, by descriptions of hard core pornography…
Next book – Stoner by John Williams