Anorak

Anorak | The Wonderful London Review of Books Personal Ads, Curated By David Rose

The Wonderful London Review of Books Personal Ads, Curated By David Rose

by | 29th, April 2014

The Book Lover — Frantisek Kupka

 

DAVID Rose created a ‘love sought’ section for the London Review of Books. Rose was the organ’s advertising director when he developed the personals section in 1998. Lovelorn literary types wrote in. The very first classified ad went:

“Disaffiliated flâneur, jacked-up on Viagra and on the look-out for a contortionist trumpeter.”

Rose told  NPR, that the ads became “instantly very, very silly.” He’s been talking to GQ :

I thought to myself, ‘This isn’t going to be good. There’s no way they’re going to let me run this. What an idiot I am.’ But I work on the Bowie principal—do something once and it’s a mistake; do it three times and it’s an arrangement.’ We had to let it go for a couple of issues. My attitude was ‘I’m going to print these ads because they’re the only ones I’ve got.’ They’re ridiculous and silly, but it was like, who blinks first? Are the readers going to say, ‘No I didn’t mean for you to print that ad?’ Or am I going to say ‘No, we can’t print this!’ They were consistently like that from there on in. They never altered. Never any change in the pitch or the camber. They were just ridiculous. It was like the advertisers seized on something.

You can now buy collection of the classifieds in They Call Me Naughty Lola  (the ad runs: “They call me Naughty Lola. Run of the mill beardy physicist — male, 46”) and Sexually, I’m More of a Switzerland .

The ads are so good, they get plagiarised. He recalls:

I can tell you that we have had a handful of singles nights at the LRB bookstore. One night I met a guy who was very proudly pointing out the adverts that he’d written and I knew bloody well that he was lying because I’d just met the advertiser who had actually gotten married from one of the advertisements that this guy was claiming to have written.

Rose cites an example of how obscure the ads can be. If you get it, you get the writer, too.

The Ad:

Newly divorced man, 38, Would like to meet woman to 40 whose heroes don’t include Leslie Cole, Bill ‘Dink’ Hewit, Roger Martinez, Peter Jaconelli, Dave Man or William Corfield. Northumbria. Box no. 6362.

Rose:

Nobody in the world knows who they are, and it took an awful lot of digging. I got a hold of this guy and he revealed that they were all world record holders. Leslie Cole set the world record for the fastest consumption of eels. All of them had been taken from the Guinness Book in 1971. I’m not sure how successful he was in getting a date.

Here are some more:

Tall, handsome, well-built, articulate, intelligent, sensitive, yet often grossly inaccurate man, 21. Cynics (and some cheap Brentwood psychiatrists) may say ‘pathological liar’, but I like to use creative with reality’. Join me in my 36-bedroom mansion on my Gloucestershire estate, set in 400 acres of wild-stag populated woodland. East Ham. Box no. 0620

If you think I’m going to love you—you’re right. Clingy, over-emotional and socially draining woman, 36. Once you’ve got me, you can never ever leave me. Not ever. Prone to maniacal bursts of crying, usually followed by excitable and uncontrollable laughter. Life is a roller coaster; you’ve just got to ride it, as Ronan Keating once said. Buxton. Box no. 0617.

If intense, post-fight sex scares you, I’m not the woman for you (amateur big-boned cage wrestler, 62)

I like my women the way I like my kebab. Found by surprise after a drunken night out, and covered in too much tahini. Before long I’ll have discarded you on the pavement of life, but until then you’re the perfect complement to a perfect evening. Man, 32. Rarely produces winning metaphors.

My last seven adverts in this column were influenced by the early catalogue of Krautrock band, Paternoster. This one, however, is based entirely around the work of Gil Scott-Heron. Man, 32. Possibly the last person you want to be stood next to at a house-party you’ve been dragged along to by a friend who wants to get off with the flatmate of the guy whose birthday it is. Hey! Have you ever heard Boards of Canada? They’re amazing; I’ll burn you a CD.

To some, I am a world of temptation. To others, I’m just another cross-dressing pharmacist. Male, 41.

Tall, handsome, well-built, articulate, intelligent, sensitive, yet often grossly inaccurate man, 21. Cynics (and some cheap Brentwood psychiatrists) may say ‘pathological liar’, but I like to use ‘creative with reality’. Join me in my 36-bedroomed mansion on my Gloucestershire estate, set in 400 acres of wild-stag populated woodland.

My therapist has given me such a good rate I can afford to indulge my bouts of infidelity and still deal elegantly with my guilt. Attached but unfaithful London male, 60, seeks female counterpart. I promise an intensity of sexual joy unexpected in the LRB.

This advert is about as close as I come to meaningful interaction with other adults. Woman, 51. Not good at parties but tremendous breasts.

The complete list of my sexual conquests: 1994-1995—Anna; 1996—Julia, Alison; 1997—Italian girl at Karl’s party, Claire (Clare?), Jessica (fingered); 1998—Anna again (big mistake), receptionist at my second temp job (possibly called Helena), Becky (I was in love but she went back to her boyfriend); 1999—Jeremy’s girlfriend; 2000-01—Karolina (deported); 2002—woman at nightclub, woman at nightclub, woman at nightclub, woman at Stewart’s barbecue, Stewart (accidental coming together of groins, the three of us were naked and very, very drunk), woman at nightclub; 2003-2006—Evil Satanic Bitch Whore; 2007—the Internet. [London Review of Books]-reading women to 35—don’t pretend your relationships have been any less incongruous and unsatisfying. Write to probably the most normal guy you’ll ever see in a lonely heart advert and maybe we’ll end up friends or lovers or despising each other and wincing every time we remember our awful one-night stand or maybe we’ll get married and have children. Writing’s a good start though. Man, 31.

Shy, ugly man, fond of extended periods of self-pity, middle aged, flatulent and overweight, seeks the impossible.

Save it. Anything you’ve got to say can be said to my lawyer. But if you’re not my ex-wife, why not write to box no. 5377? I

You have already read 1 premium article for free today
Access immediately the premium content with Multipass

Or come back tomorrow



Posted: 29th, April 2014 | In: Books Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink