The writer Fulani has been busy lately; I mean really, really busy. Last year he was one of five great writers of erotica selected by Sweetmeats press for their Naked Delirium collection. Then last winter Fulani presented us with his excellent The Museum of Deviant Desires. And just last week Fulani announced that another new collection of his stories was about to be released; "Filthy Money."
I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy.
Fulani excels at taking his reader on a journey. In "The Museum of Deviant Desires" we travel to the world of BDSM. We are nervous, chattering little voyeurs, as Fulani walks us around the exhibits; he’s a museum curator, a tour guide, pointing us in the direction of what he know will be of interest to each one of us. Whips, restraints, ball gags, ropes, chains; they are all exciting. We sense the pheromones in the air. Wild, arousing explicit sex is there for all of us to see. We can join in, if we dare; Fulani is an educator. And he certainly knows his subject. He knows his reader too.
Fulani’s new collection of tales delves into the world of the “Gutter People”.
Fulani comments in his introduction:
“Some authors take pride in writing from the margins of society. The collection you're about to read doesn't come from the margins. It comes from the gutter.”
You don’t normally see the gutter people unless you look really hard. But they are there by day and by night; they are where we will all end up if we are stripped of the luxury of our dreams and fantasies. And our dreams and fantasies are a luxury, a privilege; you need a certain amount of wealth to be able to indulge in desire.
The desire that is built on our economic circumstances; our status.
The desire that is built on our economic circumstances; our status.
So in delving into the lives of the gutter people, Fulani is daring to take a political stance.
Nothing so crass as Party politics; Fulani isn’t telling us that this isn’t fair and we should all write to our Members of Parliament, neither is he making a judgement on the gutter people.
Fulani is simply saying; “this happens, get used to it, get over it, get over yourselves”.
In the first tale, "Out Clubbing" Grazz, Deezil and Tricky, “The Makers of Chaos”, are wired, broke and bored. They’re out with Psycho Dolly and Hannah and “Club” has a deal that if you get in before 10pm you don’t pay. The night is wild and unpredictable and defined by sex. Sex in the toilets. Sex for money; anyone of them will have sex with anybody if it provides just enough money to pay for a drink. The Makers of Chaos are thieves, pickpockets and shoplifters; they maybe outside of society, but they have their place in society too.
“We're taking responsibility for our lives, like they're always telling us to. Which is funny, because we don't have ordinary-people lives, if there are any ordinary people left. We're just trying to do the best we can. We're being the makers of chaos. It's what we do best, it's the only thing we can really be responsible for.”
A sexy, beautiful woman comes on the scene; there’s fighting, more sex and drugs. This is their normality; there’s a recklessness that is enviable. Gratification is instant and that’s the way they like it.
"Transference" takes place outside of the courthouse. A last spliv, a last cigarette, the last chance to have sex before the hang man’s noose tightens, in this case, before the magistrate’s bench beckons.
Two worlds collide; the nice guy in the suit, nervously awaiting his court appearance meets gutter girl.
“He looks me up and down. Hoop earrings, red jacket, over a tight white T-shirt top, black power skirt – the kind that's a wide elastic bandage, you can wear it with the top at the waist so the hem is just above the knee, like I will in court, or with the top just under the bust so the hem is miniskirt length like I'm doing now.”
Sex with a stranger; sex in public, sex outside the courthouse. You might be going to jail, so why not?
“So right then, right there, I bend over, reach out, unzip him and flick his cock out of that nice-looking suit.
See, that's me not doing well on impulse control.
It's not exactly a strength of mine.
I'm looking into his eyes and he half-moans. "You can't do that here!"
"Abuse Type Four" is about creativity. The sort of creativity that instant sexual gratification offers. The story opens in a hardware store and the diverse uses that various gadgets can be put to. It’s not likely that the old inventors ever imagined their creations would ever be used as sex toys; but you never know.
“And you can tell what's going on in the customers' minds, as well. Because for some people – and I'm not ashamed I'm one of them – a hardware store isn't just a place that sells hardware. It's a place that sells sex. It sells toys and possibilities and fantasies.”
Enter, a customer. It’s Fulani himself. The shop assistant is intrigued with his purchases and they engage in a dialogue steeped in innuendo.
It’s a pick up; but she’s nervous and doesn’t show for the meeting. When she finally plucks up the courage she enters a world of delectable promise. BDSM Dominance and submission; the sort of confection of sexual gratification that she’s hardly dared to fantasise about.
"How (Not) to Make Porn" is what the gutter people do when faced with a night of boredom.
“When you don't have money and can't go out clubbing, what you can do is this: have friends drop by, drink cheap cider, let it take effect, get down to the sex and make it last all night.
So that's what we do.
All eight of us. In my one-room flat.”
They are all unemployed; living hand to mouth on benefit hand outs. They don’t have much, but they have sex. How do they appear to the “straight” people? The people who hardly ever see them?
“We all are problems, as far as other people are concerned. And we live in the part of the city where no one gives a fuck about anything and no landlord keeps up their property, because they're hoping when the next shopping centre or office block gets built, land values will rise and they'll make a killing on the sale.”
The night turns into a feverish orgy; a celebration of multiple partners and sexual positioning straight from the images in the Kama Sutra. All filmed on their mobile phones. We are the audience; voyeurs, watching the action. We are also invited guests and we better not be rude about our hosts.
"Alpha Male" gives us another daylight glimpse into the world of the gutter people. A chance encounter with a stranger is an unexpected dynamic. He’s not just a stranger, he’s from a different world, or might as well be. A stranger in a strange land.
“… he sounds educated and said a whole complete sentence without one of the words being fucking.”
Opposites attract, in physics and in sex and these two find a connection that is weird, but in a strange way, wholesome. They swap fantasies and one thing leads to another. Both of these characters are damaged and through their sexual connection each heals the other.
Jaded is the sixth story in Fulani’s collection and Jade spells danger. The sort of danger that is seductive and enticing.
“I'm Jaded. Which is to say, I've been Jaded. Jade's done me and I've done Jade. It was kinky as fuck but I don't know whether I'd call it fun, exactly. The girl's a sex maniac but she's also a regular maniac, a psychopath.”
Jade has allure, she knows how to throw a glamor; she is also charismatic. A lethal concoction if it goes along with insanity. So if you have any sense left in your head, you’ll steer clear of her. Jade loves sex and she loves pain.
I get the idea that Jade is not from the gutter. She is not there because she’s been born into it; she’s there partly because of her circumstances, teetering on the edge of insanity. It’s like she has actively sought the gutter out; she wants to be there. It is in the gutter that she finds a semblance of belonging.
But there is that warning sign blazing away in neon.
“I'm open-minded, you know? Just being sociable. But at the same time there's this question in my mind: if she has this need for sexual attention, and is in fact very easy on the eye, why isn't she surrounded by guys with their tongues down to their knees?”
In "What Happened" the narrator slowly comes to terms with exactly what did happen the night before. She wakes, broken and bruised in Frankie’s squat; her wrists are bound with gaffer tape, a chain is around her neck. Crusty spunk coats her skin.
Frankie’s squat is basic;
“As for toilets. The squat doesn't have a working one. They pee in buckets and chuck it down the drain. I've never dared ask where they crap.”
The story of the night she cannot remember is punctuated by sex. Screaming for sex; accosting men in bars for sex. Frankie and his friends were just looking out for her; keeping her safe. But they still had sex with her; lots of sex. They didn’t ask; they just took. Strangely, she doesn’t seem to mind. After all, sex is sex; it keeps you warm at night; flesh on flesh. And does consent really matter among friends?
And Fulani saves, what I think is the very best story "Filthy Money" until last. It’s the story that gives the collection its title. The girl is broke and in trouble. You don’t mess with the sort of people who are looking for her, but she has stolen from them and sold their stuff. She has just enough cash to buy dope, then she’s got to find somewhere safe to hide; until the friends, who are now her enemies, lose interest. A guy, who thinks she’s a hooker offers her a way out.
“So in the circumstances, something I shouldn't have done – because it's made me homeless again – has turned out well. I'm looking for somewhere to stay, wondering whose dick I can suck so I can buy credit for my phone. Because if I'm in a tight spot, I will use sex to get me out of it. This guy's staying in a big hotel and he'll put me up for the night. He'll want to fuck me, but so would anyone else I can think of who'd have me stay with them. Anyway, my gut instinct is the sex will be less important to him than having me call him Daddy and then either spanking me or being spanked, and I can handle it either way. Plus, because it's a big hotel, he's paid by credit card so he's traceable. That means he won't kill me.”
The guy in the suit asks her how much? She plucks a figure out of the air; £1000, she says. The deal is sealed and they spend an energetic night together.
I’ve enjoyed these stories by Fulani; I always like his stuff. He not only entertains me with characters that are larger than life, Fulani writes great, very arousing erotica. Very explicit erotica. And Fulani makes me think too; and I like that.
So I’m thinking about the gutter people now. About people I know who are close to the gutter, and people I once knew, who, if not dead, are most certainly in the gutter by now.
The gutter people live in the “now”. Their world of instant gratification is seductive; alluring.
Could I live like that? No, I wouldn’t want to; I’m not brave enough. And I do think that there is a sort of bravery in rejecting this straight world. What is the point of ambition? Don’t worry about where you’re going to sleep tonight. Just crash wherever you find yourself in the early hours. Drugs are a priority; food is not. Just eat when you think about it; eat whatever’s there. An out of date can of pineapple; if that’s all that’s there for breakfast – that’ll do.
The gutter is a celebration of a way to live; but it scares me.
And therein lies a warning. The gutter people are “the Other” The Other has to be there to warn us of what we stand to lose by shunning convention; by being different. And I think it suits the government of the day to have the Other; the gutter people. Much as politicians (usually the party that isn’t in power so that they can blame the party that is in power) make loud noises about benefit cheats and thieves, there are no bigger thieves than those high up in the social scale.
Read anything by Fulani; read everything by Fulani. But most of all read this book by Fulani; Filthy Money.
Filthy Money is available from these ebook stores.