Pleasure Boys should man up - Jake O’Kane

It would have taken a very brave member of staff who’d have intervened to separate 200 women and a dozen oiled up naked men

Jake O'Kane

Jake O'Kane

Jake is a comic, columnist and contrarian.

Devenish The Devenish Complex in south Belfast hosted a show by the Pleasure Boys (Mal McCann)

When it was announced the Irish government are to invest €800m in the north, I was half expecting a cacophony of unionist objections to interference from the south. That this didn’t happen proves Napoleon Bonaparte was right when he said, ‘Money has no motherland’. That €10m is to go to a renewed visitor experience at the Battle of the Boyne site in Co Meath was, without doubt, a sap to unionism.

The €600m allocated to the A5 upgrade will have an immediate impact on the horrific number of fatalities on our most dangerous road, and the €50m for the redevelopment of Casement Park, while being welcome, may still not be enough to ensure that project’s completion.

Funding for the Narrow Water Bridge, connecting counties Down and Louth, is long overdue and will have an immediate economic impact both north and south, improving both trade and tourism - one would question why it has taken this long for such a positive project to be realised.


When my late father was a councillor on Belfast City Council in the 1950s and 1960s he sat on a committee which oversaw the vetting of any potentially risqué new movies to ensure they were acceptable to be shown in local cinemas.

Unsurprisingly, seats on this committee were highly prized and much fought over by the councillors. I teased my dad, asking how many times he had to watch a suspect movie before judging it unsuitable for a public performance.

Thankfully, such censorial nonsense has been placed in the dustbin of history, or so I thought - until last weekend. Following a single complaint regarding an event in the Devenish Complex last Saturday night, Belfast City Council has instigated an investigation.

No doubt many of you will have heard about if not seen footage of the event, where a group of male strippers called the Pleasure Boys performed for an all-female audience. While no expert in such things, I’d suggest things went too far when the show moved from performance to crowd participation. The combination of alcohol and nudity - always a bad mix - resulted in some ladies enthusiastically joining the performers on stage.

While some women were no doubt fully invested, I’d suspect others became involved not realising just how explicit things were to become. What then occurred was at best distasteful, at worst ridiculous.

It would be unfair to apportion blame on the Devenish Complex as I’m sure they’d no warning of what was to ensue. I’ve played the venue twice in the past and can bear witness to the fact it is both a respectable and well-run establishment. It would have taken a very brave member of staff who’d have intervened to separate 200 women and a dozen oiled up naked men.

I am sure of one thing - sex had absolutely nothing to do with the ensuing mayhem. The girlish shrieks of joy accompanying the misbehaving proved this was a group of women acting out; the men involved were nothing more than risqué props for their entertainment.

It would have taken a very brave member of staff who’d have intervened to separate 200 women and a dozen oiled up naked men

The real villain of the piece is not the women involved but whoever decided to film the proceedings and upload them online. They are the real snakes as, without them, this would be a small story soon forgotten.

To those who’ve rushed to indignant condemnation I would ask this question: can you think of no instance in your past which would mortify you if it had been caught on camera? Personally, I can think of a handful of indiscretions which, if filmed, would have resulted in me never leaving the house. I have sympathy for today’s generation whose every misstep is recorded and uploaded onto the internet to remain forever as a permanent embarrassment.

I’ve written in the past that when any instant of sexual misbehaviour is leaked online it is invariably the woman who is blamed. They are the ones called names while the men involved miraculously disappear.

This case conforms to that rule with hardly a mention of the fact that the Pleasure Boys could have, and should have, stopped the women coming onto the stage, so if blame is to be apportioned, it should be on their oiled shoulders.

Not that they’ll be worried as the free publicity they’ve received will no doubt lead to many ‘sold out’ shows going forward. Indeed, as sex sells, I’m considering including my own version of the Pleasure Boys’ ‘helicopter’ trick in upcoming tours, although trading standards would probably demand I renamed it the ‘button mushroom’.