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The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl

Updated on November 16, 2014
The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl - Audiobook
The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl - Audiobook | Source

The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl by Belle de Jour

My copy of The Intimate Adventures Of A London Call Girl by Belle de Jour has arrived! It came flying through the post just a few days ago and I've nearly finished it already. It is a seriously good read.

'Belle de Jour' - what a beautiful name! It is, of course, a morning glory, those lovely (but poisonous) flowers that open at daybreak and then die before the day is done. This delicate nom de plume allowed the author to hide her true identity behind the facade of anonymity.

Now why would a writer want to do that? (An interesting question.)

The book caught my attention, not because of the title or subject matter, but because the person behind the name had a science doctorate - not what I thought of as an essential qualification for a hooker - but then what do I know?

I did a little research and found that 'Belle de Jour' was working as a call girl in London to fund her doctoral studies. She was a bright, professional woman and looked forward to a brilliant career in the scientific world and was not inclined to add 'prostitute' or 'good-time girl' to her CV. I had to find out more!

Her real name? Brooke Magnanti.

My Guilty Secrets

Of course I'm going to say that this is not normally the sort of book I'd go for - which makes it all the more tantalising - and so you might be interested to hear how I, a rather straight-laced lady with a bent for the arts, stumbled across this 'colourful' book. You'll be surprised!

What's more - I found the story didn't end there .....

The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl - Audiobook: Buy from

Belle de Jour's History of Anon - By Brooke Magnanti

This is where I came across Brooke Magnanti, alias Belle de Jour - on BBC Radio 4. In this broadcast Magnanti explores the 'history of anonymity' and the many and varied reasons why writers have resorted to it in the past. Starting with her own reasons for writing under a pen name, she covers the ground of anonymous writing from the ancient Greeks to the present day, exploring how reverence, politics, gender, religion and class all push writers to anonymity.

The Intimate Adventures Of A London Call Girl - Belle de Jour records her life in this paperback book

The experiences of Brooke Magnanti was recorded in the form of a blog and various books. I chose to start with this book, but in the meantime, while waiting for the book to arrive, I did a little research.

One thing that appears from a brief scan of the material on the internet, is the 'problem' of prostitution for feminism. Is selling sex just like selling any other service? It certainly pays better than waitressing. Or does it denigrate women to sell sex? Does it denigrate men to buy it for that matter?

Whatever the answer to these questions, Belle de Jour has definitely caught the public imagination - just as it caught mine.


The Intimate Adventures Of A London Call Girl

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The Intimate Adventures Of A London Call Girl

Who is Belle de Jour?

We have seen how 'our' Belle de Jour is Brooke Magnanti, but there's more to the name than meets the eye. Belle de Jour begins life as a novel written by in 1928 by Joseph Kessel. It was made into a film (French language) in 1967, directed by Luis Buuel (sometimes misspelled Luiz Bunuel) and starring Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, and Michel Piccoli. American director Martin Scorsese promoted a 2002 release of the film on DVD.

The story is a how a wealthy young woman, who finds it hard to respond sexually to her husband due to abuse in her childhood, turns to prostitution in the afternoons in a way to act out her unhappy fantasies. To guard her anonymity she takes the name of 'Belle de Jour' - a flower that blooms in the mornings - morning glory to us.

It all seems to work well until one of her more unpleasant clients finds out her true identity.

The film Belle de Jour inspired a fashion movement. Care was taken to keep the clothes that Sverine wears classic. This was so the film wouldn't date so badly - at the time the mini skirt was all the rage. Pity they didn't apply the same thinking to the eye-makeup. Yves St. Laurent designed many of Catherine Deneuve's costumes and they have a strong following today.

Bid for Belle de Jour Fashion and Acessories on eBay - Take pot-luck

Belle de Jour in books, films, posters, fashion - you'll find a little cornucopia of Belle de Jour items on eBay. The machine is doing the choosing so you might find the choice is a little bit of a bagatelle.

Read the Original Belle de Jour Story - Belle de Jour by Joseph Kessel

I always like to go back to the original. Who was the original Belle de Jour? How close is the film? This is the next book on my reading list - After Brooke Magnanti's Intimate Adventures.

Belle De Jour
Belle De Jour

This book is available again having been republished April 24, 2007. Joseph Kessel was born in Argentina in 1898 and was a French journalist and novelist.

Kessel was brought up in Orenburg, Russia, before the family moved to France. He studied in Nice and Paris, and was an aviator in the First World War. He died in 1979.


Belle de Jour Reads Her Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl - Hear her voice on this Audio CD

Brooke Magnanti has a great reading voice and has taken to broadcasting in a big way. Doesn't it make it seem so much more real when she reads her own story aloud?

The Secret Diary of a Call Girl - Fun and Humane - Naughty but Nice - See the TV series about Belle de Jour for yourself

In 2007 Belle de Jour's story was transformed, loosely, into a television series, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, starring Billie Piper - of Dr Who fame - as Belle, with the real name Hannah Baxter. She works for 'Discrete Elite' and we are shown a whole world of raunchy sex with a whole bundle of laughs as well as a few very scary moments.

I've just finished watching the whole box of 8 DVD discs of the TV series of The Secret Diary of a Call Girl and loved it. Loved the way that Belle includes us in the action - we are always there in the room with us - she will glance at us and as "What?!". She'll tell us what is going on, looking straight into our eyes. She has a lovely, mobile face with laughing eyes with a wicked gleam. It is great fun!

Meet the Madam, Stephanie, - much harder and less approachable than the one described in the book, the sweet and innocent Bambi, the totally terrifying domatrix Charlotte, good-natured and long-suffering boyfriend Ben, Hannah's sister and Stephanie's teenage daughter. Stir them up with a good handful or two of clients - mostly male and off you go - addictive viewing.

I loved as well all the gorgeous, designer outfits - high-class calls girls need to be mega-groomed and uber-well-dressed. Lovely hairstyles, beautiful and varied makeup, shoe to die for (you'd break your neck wearing these), and a whole array of the most sumptuous underwear - if that's what turns you on. All glamerous and 'in the best possible taste'.

OK - it is graphic and you might find the whole subject a bit (or a lot) sordid, but this programme is a funny, light-hearted if over-eighteen romp loosely based on the experiences of Brooke Magnanti whilst 'on the game' as a high-class hooker in London.

Billie Piper is a great choice. She played Dr Who's assistant and still resides in the public memory as a 'girl next door' figure - exactly right. Piper's fresh-faced, innocent look can be transformed into a smoldering pout in the wink of an eye. I like the way this shows that 'working girls' are real - just like everyone else.

I'm enjoying it!

PS We decided it wasn't suitable viewing for our 15 year old son - Adults only. Maybe we are prudes, but watch it yourself first before allowing minors to see it.

It's much cheaper if you can buy it from The Secret Diary of a Call Girl: Buy from

Billie Piper Meets Belle de Jour - The acress meets the author

This is a fascinating interview between Billie Piper who plays 'Belle de Jour' in the TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, and the real 'Belle de Jour', scientist and author Brooke Magnanti.

Billie is nervous at first but the warm welcome and frank answers given by Brooke Magnanti put her at her ease. And Magnanti is incredibly frank. I do suffer terribly for the 'No sex please, I'm British' syndrome and this interview is not for the faint-hearted.

The interview opens with the question - does the TV series and Belle de Jour's accounts glamourise prostitution? Listen to the rest for yourself - and do listen to part two as well - it is worrying but fascinating stuff.

Asked the question should other women follow in Belle de Jour's footsteps Brooke Magnanti's advice is - don't do it for sex, don't do it for company and think very carefully whether you can handle it or not.

I guess Brooke Magnanti is pretty special.

WARNING: Frank and feisty discussion of the sex-workers occupation. (The 'bare all' refers only to their truthful discussion!)

I loved it - Now for The Further Adventures ...!

The Sessions - Helen Hunt's New Film - What is the difference between a sex surrogate and a call girl?

It's in the air! First I discovered Belle de Jour, then I heard an interview on BBC Radio 4 with Helen Hunt about her latest film, The Sessions. Like the intimate diaries by Belle, The Sessions is drawn from the true story of How I Became a Human Being: A Disabled Man's Quest for Independence (Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography)by Mark O'Brien and tells the truth about sex and the disabled. Helen Hunt play the role of Cheryl T. Cohen-Greene, the real life sex surrogate in the story. Again, like the BBC version of Belle's Diaries, the sex in The Sessions is conducted in a frank and adult manner, but with touching humanity and humour.

So what is the difference between a sex surrogate and a call girl? Well, in the Radio 4 Woman's Hour broadcast, Helen Hunt explained the difference like this: a call girl wants her clients to come back, but a sex surrogate, like a therapist (or should I say andy other therapist) wants their clients to be able to go out into the world and to dispense with their services. Read more about the life of Cheryl Cohen-Greene in An Intimate Life: Sex, Love, and My Journey as a Surrogate Partner

This is another film and book that is going onto my Amazon wish list.

I Find This Subject Uncomfortable - What do you think?

Have you watched the video of Brooke Magnanti talking about her experience of being a sex worker? If not, watch it now, along with the interviews with Billie Piper and tell me what do you think. I'd be very interested to know.

Is it OK to sell sex?

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Leave a comment for me - I'd love to hear from you

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    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      very interesting. I didn't know much about this at all.

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 5 years ago from France

      @TreasuresBrenda: I enjoyed both book (nearly finished) and the TV series. The TV series is a treat as well if you like fashion, hairstyles and makeup. I loved seeing how Belle turns herself out (which is a joke if you could see me - living life vicariously). Let me know what you think Treasures-By-Brenda.

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 5 years ago from France

      @Frischy: It's true that so many relationships are built on barter! Thanks for leaving a message Frischy.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

      Well you've tempted me to read The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, LOL. Can't believe it! If I do read it, I'll want to see the program, too, LOL.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      It's the world's oldest profession, but there is a lot of discomfort about it.I'm not sure why. All sexuality for women is either a form of exchange or exploitation. There is nothing else. Either you are getting some form of compensation, not necessarily financial but maybe in socially acceptable forms, or you are being used or abused in some way. Maybe society is threatened by a woman who does it in a forthright manner for purely material gain. It is supposed to be for "love." But, how many wives are unloved? So many! They stay with the man for financial reasons and stigma. What's the difference?! Very interesting to think about!