“The spray cans of cream arrived boxes at a time, we licked it off each other’s skin”
With its latest issue, Extra Extra has achieved the impossible: it has made lockdown sexy. A magazine about “urban erotic encounters”, Extra Extra publishes writing and artist interviews that explore the sensuality of modern city life. Extra Extra’s 16th issue opens with a series of fabulously short stories, many of which are about sex in the pandemic. The tone is hyper-real: the first piece of erotica, entitled ‘The Parcel’, is about a woman who has an orgasm delivered, quite literally, to her door:
“A small cardboard box, with no stamps and no sender. Her name wasn’t on it either. As she picked it up off the floor, she noticed a warm glow coming from it and she could have sworn that she felt the almost weightless package pulsating… Before she knew what was happening, something darted out of the box, shot across the room like a lightning bolt and disappeared under the sideboard.”
In ‘Without Bones’, by Rob van Essen, the protagonist transforms her lockdown apartment into a giant bed, and feeds her lover up so that their bodies are as soft and as supple as the feather mattresses that cover every inch of the floor:
“I ordered large quantities, more than ever, we ate greasy soup and baked big cakes, the spray cans of cream arrived boxes at a time, we licked it off each other’s skin… feathers stuck to everything, but they were soft too, we kept going, eating and being eaten in my palace of mattresses, I don’t think we exchanged more than four words the entire time.”
Other highlights of this issue include a story about getting off on the Lara Croft video game, and a delightful essay on odours, including a brief history of The Smell Society, which was founded in 1935 with the stated aim of improving the way London smelled.
Small-ish and white, Extra Extra’s design is somewhere between a book and a magazine, which gives the reader the pleasurable feeling of opening something texturally rich, and rewarding. This is one of those rare magazines where the visuals and the text are equally stunning (usually, in the magazine world, it’s the visuals that do a lot of the heavy lifting). In this issue, images are lush and almost uncomfortably textural. One photograph, by Torbjørn Rødland, shows a veined arm gripping a fishnet-clad leg. Later in the same story, we see a pencil case full of sand. It is difficult to tell whether what you feel looking at these images. Are you disgusted? Or are you turned on?