Pole dancing row is a PR man’s dream

by Scott Douglas

Friday, January 30th, 2009

My thanks to the Shaun Milne and the team at digital publishing company, Planet Ink.

Not only have they just completed a rather natty web 2.0 brochure for Holyrood PR, they also introduced me to the joys of page turn technology.

The upshot is that I am now an avid reader of the free newspaper distributed on buses and trains – even though I rarely use public transport. Since a simple explanation may be required: check out this link http://www.metro.co.uk/e-metro or click here  and it is easy to get hold of the e-Metro.

For my money, it’s much better than reading a news website or subscribing to RSS feeds – simply because  It still looks and feels like a newspaper. The pages make a nice swishy noise when you turn them. You can zoom in our out with a simple click. And even though they don’t do it yet, I know the technology underpinning this page turn platform (yudu.com) also allows video to be embedded.

OK, so you need a big screen and broadband to really get the most out of these page turn documents – but those aren’t exactly unusual these days.

Point is, without my copy of e-Metro it I would have probably missed this story, which by 8.30am had already brightened my day no end. And If I hadn’t read that, then I wouldn’t have Googled to find this fine YouTube video .

Who knows what the bosses at South Devon College (which caters for youngsters aged 14-19) expected when they put on a demonstration of pole dancing by the pneumatic Sam Remmer – you should read her Art of Dance blog here, even if it’s just to see the picture of “me at work”.   What other job could you turn up for wearing a pair of tiny black pants, areola defining gymslip top and leg warmers?

Few readers will be surprised that what they got (particularly for the second event, after word of mouth must have spread like wildfire) was a massive influx of teenage boys. None of whom could thereafter concentrate on lessons because they were too busy swapping mobile phone footage of the performance.

Obviously Ms Remmer is very image conscious and she pole dances for the health benefits and to keep herself trim. So she’s raging that the college tried to prevent her from videoing the event and using it for PR purposes – because that somehow suggests what she is does is seedy.

Let me be clear. I am a libertarian. I am open minded about pole dancing as part of the so-called “sex industry”, as long as it is well regulated. If both parties are happy and consensual with the transaction, then I  don’t see why men shouldn’t be able to pay for a scantily clad woman to dance for them – and for that woman to make a decent living in a safe environment.

I also fully understand that many women like to  take part in pole dancing as a purely fitness and health-related past-time – with no sexual overtones involved whatsoever.    But I’m sorry to have to break the news to those women that the other half of the population (ie men) are always going to struggle to think of it in non-sexualised terms. I Suspect most women know this and that’s why most pole dancing classes are women-only affairs.

I also think that Ms Remmer is trying too hard to  play the bruised innocent. The lady doth protest too much. I know nowt about her, but I don’t thinks she can really be daft enough to have thought this would pass off without causing eyes to pop. She seems like a woman who appreciates her own assets, so she must have suspected that her routine would send teenage boys into overdrive.

I defy anyone to watch the section of this video at around the 42 seconds mark and tell me there are no erotic overtones in a semi-naked woman writhing doggy fashion on a pole during a hip-swinging, legs-akimbo dance routine. Is it any wonder the line of heads (all boys)  in the front row for this performance are totally rapt throughout?

The resultant media storm (even making it as far afield as Australia) we can take with a pinch of salt. There may be a few sheepish high  heid yins at the college who will be a bit embarrassed to show their faces in the serious and arcane corridors of academia for a while. But I don’t expect anybody’s jobs will be on the line.

Indeed South Devon College has probably enjoyed a good deal of PR goodwill as a result – and certainly the wide-eyed (though I suspect deep-thinking) Ms Remmer has benefitted from a profile lift she could only have dreamt off.

Also, the whole thing has probably been highly profitable for South West News Services, now known as SWNS, which is one of the UKs main press and picture agencies and a member of NAPA, where I hold a seat on the executive.

The only losers are the testosterone-tormented teenage boys who are no doubt being terribly sleep-deprived since watching the show. And I’m not sure loser is really the correct term.

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