As forecast in this column last month Peter Stringfellow´s court appeal to allow full nudity at his club was successful

As forecast in this column last month Peter Stringfellow´s court appeal to allow full nudity at his club was successful and so from now on it will be competing with Spearmint on equal terms. This ruling is likely to have implications for a number of other clubs in Westminster and in other London boroughs which have had to operate on a topless only basis to date and confirms the dubious legal position behind many councils negative attitude to strip clubs

The increased competition from Stringfellow´s does not seem to be causing Spearmint Rhino to alter its master plan for dominating the world of G strings in the UK. The company has announced that it intends to add to it´s current 3 London clubs with new places in Swiss Cottage and Eversholt Street {near Euston railway station}. The owner of Spearmint American John Gray has served time in a US jail for fraud, a fact that has been leaked to the press {doubtless by a rival, I wonder who}, but the company still remains confident that they will get the required licenses. Gray has been the subject of several recent mainly positive news articles in the UK media probably as a result of his recent retaining Max Clifford as his PR advisor.

Eversholt Street, a previously unremarkable thoroughfare next to the Euston main line railway station already has had one new table dancing venue open in February with the latest addition to the Secrets chain. This is Secret´s 4th club in London and they are now reportedly planning to reopen the old Cherokee premises near St Katherine´s Dock { close to Tower Bridge}to make a 5th in the near future. Cherokee was one of the first London table dancing places to open in 1997 but also one of the first to close down after a series of council and police actions. Unlike Spearmint or For Your Eyes Only which have clubs throughout the UK Secrets has to date only opened clubs in Greater London. Secrets is run by Alan Whitehead who used to be in the successful 70s pop group Marmalade.

For Your Eyes Only opened the first London pure table dance venue at Park Royal in West London in 1996 and now has 5 clubs spread throughout the UK. It is however owned by SFI Plc a quoted pubs and clubs group which wants to sell the chain as it feels the image is not right for a public company. Attempts at a trade sale or management buy-out have so far failed reportedly due to the reluctance of city institutions to get involved in investing in the sex industry. There is now talk of a float of Spearmint Rhino during 2002, whether this will increase the financial sector´s appetite remains to be seen.

Although the financial sector is not keen to actually invest in lap dancing places it remains a heavy user of their facilities. A senior partner at top corporate lawyers Clifford Chance has had to apologise for having taken financial journalists to Spearmint after a press conference in February. The journalists apparently made no complaint but his fellow partners felt it was not consistent with their self image !

Curvaceous model Sam Kirli { see } has been a regular on the London strip scene for several years now firstly with the Rainbow agency and then Metropolis. She currently works at Spearmint´s Tottenham Court Road flagship club. In March however she took part in a gruelling sponsored walk in the Sahara desert to raise money for the McMillan cancer relief organisation. The whole project raised over £100,000 and Sam reportedly enjoyed the experience but found the combination of sand and high winds very taxing.

One of the main Shoreditch strip pubs the Axe on Hackney road had a visit from the local Police who want them to tone down various aspects of their show. The Axe {which is a fine old Victorian London pub and resembles the Adam´s family house from the outside look on !} has attracted a number of defections of girls from nearby Browns recently based on the money reportedly to be made from table dancing there. How this will be affected by this Police action remains to be seen.

Stop press….. On the 28th of March Camden council announced that it was turning down the new license application of Spearmint´s Tottenham Court Road club. Spearmint are appealing and continue to trade. Expect a long a bruising legal fight.

Bill Tyke

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Author: Saxon is covering the European Striptease industry with monthly updates on or famous London Gossip, Interviews with industry people, articles and news from the world of striptease. We also offer a Striptalk forum, Industry Directory with Stripclubs and Agents and a Job board for the Striptease industry in Europe.