Sex with Anne Boleyn
You can go years without an imagined sexual encounter with Anne Boleyn. And then two turn up at once.
In Hilary Mantel's new novel, Wolf Hall (to be reviewed in the TLS by Michael Caines next week), Thomas Cromwell, silky facilitator of King Henry's marriage to his second wife, has his own quiet reveries of resting his hand upon Anne's shoulder, 'following with his thumb the scooped hollow between her collarbone and her throat. .his forefinger tracking the line of her breast'.
Mantel paints a very modern portrait of Cromwell, an enlightened sceptic of a bloody age, but not as modern a piece of sexual fantasy as that in Niven Govinden's short story, Tudor Girls, in the latest issue of the often surprising Pen Pusher Magazine.
Govinden's hero is a punter in Romsey who chooses a lap-dancer dressed as the Tudor queen on his first visit to a Gentleman's Club.
He could have had a cheer-leader quicker but he was happy to wait (and pay four times the price) for a woman in full length emerald brocade 'with a pleasingly authentic anount of open chest'.
How would Henry VIII have handled a lap-dance? How much vaseline did this Tudor girl need to stop the chafing in her corset?. He decides that, on balance, he would rather fast-forward just a little in time and have the sickly fearful Anne awaiting execution in her Tower of London cell, an encounter that would be 'drab, mechanical, humiliating, more pleasurable'.
That not being available (except in the picture above), he chooses a Lulu and a Dusty Springfield while a suitable Eastern European is made up with pock-marks as Anne of Cleves.
In the end, he regrets his choice of period altogether: 'There was no recklessness to be had with the late Tudors not unless he wanted to get naked with Henry'.
There are 650 pages of Mantel's novel, already widely claimed as a triumph well worth its £18.99 cover price.
Pen Pusher, which also contains poems by our own Hugo Williams, a 'nineteen bottles of red wine' reminiscence by Simon Callow and an engaging piece on coffee by the paper's editor, Anna Goodall, contains 74 pages and costs £3.75. A subscription is available too.