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Martin Kelner, Journalist, Author and Radio Presenter.
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Why Wrestling In Honey?
By Martin "Old Tat" Kelner on Apr 23, 2021 - 4:57:51 PM

I was called by a researcher from Woman's Hour last week - although these days you can never be entirely sure a call is genuine and not just Russell Brand mucking about - and asked about my libido. Apparently, some scientists have discovered that the older male is prone to tiredness, moodiness and loss of libido. These boffins, presumably from the department of No Shit Sherlock at the University of Please Yourself, have concluded that this is down to a testosterone deficiency.


Fortunately I was recording the call for training purposes, or I might have been tempted to camouflage a rapidly waning libido by making suggestive remarks to the young woman, in the manner of Tony Booth out on a window-cleaning job.


Instead, I was forced to admit that science was right, and what was once a going concern is now more like one of those fireworks that fizzes a little and which, were it not for the safety code, you might be inclined to go over and try and reignite, or else put out of its misery. As to this being a problem, I take a similar view to Kingsley Amis, who said he found his diminished sex drive rather a relief, likening the possession of a full and functioning libido to being chained to a mad dog.


As far as being tired and moody goes, guilty as charged, but isn't everybody these days what with the credit crunch, approaching armageddon and West Ham's inability to keep a clean sheet - and without even Jonathan Ross's Saturday morning radio show to cheer us up? Anyway, Woman's Hour tells me that a growing number of men are having hormone replacement therapy to counteract all this and give them a more optimistic mien in their latter years - 65 was the age she mentioned - and to re-lead their pencil, as it were.


This conjures up a nightmarish vision of elderly blokes behaving like a cross between Pollyanna and Russe ... well, you know who I mean ... and safe sex warnings having to be printed on packets of Werther's Originals.


I told the researcher I could not see myself raging against the dying of the light in this way. Apart from anything else, it must be humiliating to be constantly having to say "You what?" when a woman is trying to talk dirty.


It set me wondering, though, whether it is at this generation of seasoned-up hyenas - in the memorable words of the late Ian Dury - that some of the late-night programming on The Fight Network is directed. "All Fights All The Time" is the channel's almost irresistible proposition, and while during the day this is taken care of by reruns of wrestling matches from World Of Sport in the 1970s and 80s - pasty-faced English doughballs kneading each other's flesh in Dudley Civic Hall before an audience of grim-faced crones and Brylcreemed spivs (I know memory plays tricks, but I am sure the 70s were never quite that beige) - in the late evening the network provides what it fondly imagines to be more colourful, racier programming.


By this, of course, it means women fighting each other - sometimes Japanese women, sometimes American, and, for that niche audience with an interest in Lithuanian women wrestling in honey, Amberlady Honey Wars.


This is not a great programme, but whatever else you say about it, it does provide a genuine alternative to Newsnight.   Bikinied Lithuanian women, competing under names like Jungle Girl and Bronze Thumbelina, slide around in an inflatable paddling pool half-full of honey, pretending to fight. They tend to be more lithe than the American girls fighting under the Women's Extreme Wrestling banner, and I think it is safe to assume the chief attraction for its somewhat specialist audience is the possibility of one of the combatants losing her top. Do not hold your breath, would be my advice.


The warning that precedes the female fight shows on the network - "The following programme contains violence, sexuality, nudity and coarse language; viewer discretion is advised" - serves a similar purpose to those newspaper bills you used to see proclaiming "Famous Film Star Dies", only to discover on buying the paper it was some no-mark who played Robert Mitchum's best friend in a B-movie in the 1940s.


The most shocking thing you are likely to see in Amberlady Honey Wars is guys with unfeasibly wide lapels in the audience smoking, although I was more outraged at the criminal waste of honey. At a time when the honeybee is an endangered species, threatening us with ecological disaster, and you can barely find a jar of decent stuff in the shops, to have young women, however lithe, sloshing around in bathtubs of it seems profligate in the extreme. Not at all erotic either. As the Sky commentator Stevo said yesterday morning about England's performance in the Rugby League World Cup, "We needed fireworks, but so far it has been a bit of a damp squid."


Finally, on the subject of television turning out to be not as advertised, Dermot O'Leary promised Saturday night's X-Factor would "quite literally be murder on the dance floor". Disappointingly, it quite literally was not.


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