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March 12, 2006

Back When London Was Really Swinging

Responding to the surprising public interest sparked by John Profumo's recent death, today's Sunday Times has a fascinating play-by-play of the Profumo affair, including steamy details of high society orgies and all sorts of fun times. The piece, by Matthew Parris, is extracted from a book-length account he wrote with Kevin Maguire and published in 2004: Great Parliamentary Scandals : Four Centuries of Calumny, Smear & Innuendo. (Copies may also be ordered from the London Times here.)

Here is one of the more salacious bits, taken from Lord Denning's official report on the matter:

There is a great deal of evidence that there is a group of people who hold parties in private of a perverted nature. At some of these parties, the man who serves dinner is nearly naked except for a small square lace apron round his waist such as a waitress might wear. He wears a black mask over his head with slits for eye-holes. He cannot therefore be recognised by any of the guests.

Some reports stop there and say that nothing evil takes place. It is done as a comic turn and no more. This may well be so at some of the parties. But at others it is followed by perverted sex orgies: the man in the mask is a ‘slave’ who is whipped: that guests undress and indulge in sexual intercourse one with the other: and indulge in other sexual activities of a vile and revolting nature.

And you thought Bill Clinton had all the fun.

Here are a few more links to interesting overviews of the scandal:

  • The Guardian's special report on politics past: The Profumo Scandal

  • The BBC's "infamous crimes" series piece on the Profumo Affair

  • Of course, be sure to read this link to John Profumo's obituaries, for the human side of this unfortunate circus.

March 12, 2006 at 12:58 AM | Permalink


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