In the Shadow of the Bum Courts

Is it a footballer? Is it an MP? No… it’s a Superinjunction! Yes, the infamous writ of Shut-The-Hell-Up is back. Someone’s been bad. But because they’re rich we’re not, repeat not, allowed to talk about it. Unless we’re in Parliament, or Scotland, or anywhere in the world part from England and Wales. The superinjunction is…

When was it okay to bugger a horse in 1650s Yorkshire?

I recently came across an astonishing pair of documents in the National Archives. The documents are ‘depositions’, witness statements, collected for a trial at the Yorkshire Assizes – the local court which dealt with serious crimes – from 1656. They relate to an alleged case of bestiality. William Clarke, labourer, it was alleged, had been…

Sex, Liberty, and Germaine Greer

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will have noticed that my account’s recently developed just the faintest whiff of smuttery. My excuse is that I’ve been reading the fascinating and delightfully lewd Origins of Sex, the first monograph by my colleague (and old tutor) Faramerz Dabhoiwala. It’s a cracking read – a thoughtful…