with a drugged expression and a resolute eschewal of eye contact. No-one rewards her. She is not, it appears, to their taste. The parade of flesh continues, as the spectators look on with somehow forced intensity.

It is early afternoon, surely a dead time in most days, yet the club is timeless. The room will no doubt fill up as evening approaches, the dancers become more frenetic, but the essential tone, the simplicity of the transaction is already established.

The next dancer, a blonde, is different. From the first the splendid youthful perfection and energy of her body somehow lift her out of the ruck of tedium. Her face is not beautiful but pretty, with a childish smile and waves in her long blonde hair. Something about her says Westie – a child of those distant, bush-clad suburbs. How old is she? Nineteen, twenty-two? Her curves are plumped out with baby fat, though her limbs are toned.

Her skill is based on athleticism rather than grace, but her command of the basic steps still looks fresh. Though clearly no beginner, can she have been doing this for more than a very few weeks to be so confident, so free?

As more and more of her body is revealed, its true unspoiled beauty becomes apparent. For the first time it is impossible to believe that she will go the whole way, expose herself entirely, but her pubes, too, are shaved bare, and she gropes herself with the same machine-like enthusiasm as the other girls.

Somehow you cannot bear it when she descends from the stage and begins to parade about the tables. She turns and (yes) literally rubs her back against the fat pony-tailed man beside you. Dieu, que les femmes sont belles. Her bottom, her back are so lovely, so soft, so unprotected. Touching them would be such unspeakable joy.

Instead, she climbs the column beside you and, gripping it with her powerful thighs, leans back and hangs in mid-air from it. The audience, prompted by some managerial claque, ventures half-hearted applause at this, and she climbs down – satisfied at having provoked at least this much reaction?

Leaning backwards from the pole, the slim perfection of her waist was evident. She is not flawless, but as close to it as flesh can really sustain. “This is how we party,” the song hypnotically insists. She goes off to a scattering of applause.

All this time you have been watching with interest a slim young dark-haired girl in a short skirt and top chatting to a man in front of you. The flanges of

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