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Paul Raymond: The King of Soho

With modern Soho a bustling media hub these days. It’s hard (pun intended) to remember that Soho was once a den of vice; strip clubs, sex shops and prostitution. The King of it all was Paul Raymond, whose hedonistic life is celebrated in a show at the Soho Revue (opening tonight!) called A Paul Raymond Show.

Raymond’s entrepreneurial spirit brought sex and nudity to a repressed post-war London that was starved of fantasy. A Paul Raymond Show promises intimate photos, archival material and titillating erotic performances; a timely reminder that Raymond’s battles with city councillors and moral crusaders heralded the most extraordinary changes in attitudes to not only sex and nudity but also abortion, contraception and homosexuality. Effectively, the changes he initiated wrought the bringing of the strange and sexual ‘other’ into the mainstream. We should look back and be grateful for that liberation.

Performance at the Raymond Revue Bar in 1984
Performance at the Raymond Revue Bar in 1984
The launch of Raymond's publication King in 1964
The launch of Raymond’s publication King in 1964
Return to Marilyn, a Paul Raymond organisation at The Windmill Theatre
Return to Marilyn, a Paul Raymond organisation at The Windmill Theatre
Paul Raymond and The Beatles at the Raymond Revue Bar
Paul Raymond and The Beatles at the Raymond Revue Bar
Paul Raymond with four of the Raymond Revue Bar stars celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Raymond Revue Bar, 1983
Paul Raymond with four of the Raymond Revue Bar stars celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Raymond Revue Bar, 1983