DCSIMG

Nothing wrong with a bit 
of smut

Copy of postcard. September 17th 2012 E38175N

Copy of postcard. September 17th 2012 E38175N

AN EXPERT in seaside sauce has spoken out in defence of naughty postcards saying they are a cherished part of life in coastal resorts.

John Wilton has spent the last few years amassing a huge collection of risqué postcards, with a particular penchant for the work of controversial artist Donald McGill.

The local Rotary president and retired teacher has more than 5,500 postcards at his East Dean home and is putting the finishing touches to a book on the subject which he hopes will be out early in the new year.

And although his cards are based around cartoon and innuendo, Mr Wilton was quick to leap to the defence of the Eastbourne Pier seller who was quizzed by police last week following complaints he was flogging obscene images.

Ian Donald told the Herald he was shocked when officers turned up at his Gifts @ Eastbourne Pier shop to inspect three cards – one which showed a woman’s breast, another featured a larger naked lady with her back to the camera and the last showed three svelte women walking away wearing nothing but beach thongs.

The officer sent to inspect the images saw the funny side of it and no action was taken, but that didn’t stop Mr Wilson getting in touch to talk up the titillating appeal of the seaside postcard.

“Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion,” he said, “but personally I think these sort of postcards are great fun and part of what people expect from British seaside towns. They certainly are not obscene.

“A lot of the McGill ones I have were probably worse [than the ones on the pier] because they have some very suggestive things written on them, but they are just a bit of fun.”

Mr Wilton, who has exhibited his vast collection at venues across Eastbourne, says question marks over the suitability of postcard are nothing new – people have been moaning about the suggestive nature of them for decades.

“In the 1950s a lot of McGill’s cards were criticised as being obscene,” explained Mr Wilton, “and committees were sent out to different towns to see whether or not the postcards were appropriate or not.

“What it meant was that, as was often the case, a card might be deemed unsuitable for the people of Eastbourne but allowed to stay on sale in Hastings and Brighton.”

So, has Eastbourne always been a bit prudish when it comes to saucy wit? “You could say that,” said Mr Wilton, “About 130 of McGill’s cards ended up being censored. One example of how Eastbourne used to be was that there was once a local law in place which banned dogs from barking on the beach.”

But, according to the East Dean expert, Eastbourne has never been too high brow for rude postcards, and he hopes it never will be.

“There is nothing wrong with naughty postcards,” he said. “You also have to consider who buys them. Generally the people sitting on the benches on the seafront writing the postcards home are women.

“People buy a postcard to send home when they are on holiday and want to send something back that has a sense of fun – something a bit cheeky.

“They are part of the traditional English seaside holiday and I hope they always will be.”

 

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