Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Dark Deeds, Down Under


Craig every second Tuesday

Kia ora and gidday everyone,

So it's the half-term break here in the UK, and I was meant to be going camping with Miss Seven the past three days - her first 'sleepaway' camp with the local Woodcraft group she's been going to (Woodcraft Folk is a Scouts-like group that I hadn't heard of myself until recently, but has been going for almost 100 years and is pretty big here in the UK - I guess like some of those other outdoorsy groups in the US like Camp Fire etc). 

Unfortunately a wee gastro bug on Friday put paid to our plans for the weekend - and my thoughts of writing today about getting out into nature, or revisiting the childhood Scouts/camping/summer camp kinds of thing with my own daughter now rather than being a kid or a leader for others' kids, as I've done in the past. Another time. 

But while I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and like the world's worst Dad (I was the one who came down sick just before we were meant to go to camp), something good happened to lift my spirits. Well, Miss Seven was being an absolute trooper and keeping a smile on my face, even though she was pretty disappointed herself - but this was another outside-the-household thing that made me grin when I woke up on Saturday morning: the cover was finalised and the official announcement made about the first anthology I've edited: DARK DEEDS DOWN UNDER

DARK DEEDS DOWN UNDER is a first-of-its-kind anthology
of Australian & New Zealand crime and thriller short fiction

So if you'll indulge me, I thought I'd share a bit more about this cool project I've been involved in for the past few months. I'd say 'I'll write about nature next time', but in fact there's a fair bit of nature in this book, threaded through some criminally good stories. After all, the presence and impact of rugged elements (and weather) is one of a few things that can make antipodean crime writing a little distinct and different from its British counterparts.

While you could say that next month's publication of DARK DEEDS DOWN UNDER will be the culmination of a project kickstarted last European summer/autumn, you could also say that the seeds of it all go back far, far further. In a way, it's another culmination of several of the crime writing related things I've been doing the past fourteen years - and that Lindy Cameron, the long-time President of Sisters in Crime Australia as well as the publisher at Clan Destine Press and an acclaimed crime writer in her own right, has been doing for twice as long. 

It's been fabulous to collaborate with Lindy and all the authors on DARK DEEDS DOWN UNDER. We have 20 outstanding storytellers in the first volume, a diverse constellation of Aussie & Kiwi storytelling talent. And yes, I said first volume, because due to the enthusiastic response from many, many authors I reached out to as Commissioning Editor we've already decided to make it something of a series. The second volume (many of the stories already gathered for that one) will be out late this year, just before Christmas. And the third, next year. 

The 'Quiet King of Aussie Crime', Garry Disher, is among the authors providing brand-new stories with the series characters for DARK DEEDS DOWN UNDER

While some things dragged out a little - as many creative projects can do at the best of times, and our pandemic-bruised lives are hardly the best of times - I'm so stoked with how it has all come together. The lineup of 20 authors includes three Ned Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, multiple Ngaio Marsh Awards, Ned Kelly Awards, and Davitt Awards winners (the three main crime prizes Down Under), and some fresh newer voices too. It's a great mix, with authors ranging from 30s to 90s, across most states and territories, and several writers of colour. 

I couldn't be happier with how it has come together, and I'm looking forward to keen crime readers out there getting a chance to try the stories. Several include characters familiar to keen crime readers from books series, eg Constable Paul 'Hirsch' Hirschhausen from Garry Disher's award-winning books, Vanda Symon's Detective Sam Shephard, Sulari Gentill's gentleman sleuth Rowly Sinclair, Kerry Greenwoods baker and amateur sleuth Corinna Chapman, and more. From the raucous antics of the Nancys in small-town Otago to a prequel tale starring Dinuka McKenzie's Kate Miles, to the futuristic noir escapades of Matiu and Penny Yee in a supernatural-tinged Auckland, DARK DEEDS DOWN UNDER has got quite the mix of characters whose adventures you can follow elsewhere too. 

It also includes some brilliant standalone crime tales. 

And the long-awaited return of Murray Whelan, the political functionary who found himself investigating crimes linked to his job in an outstanding series of novels by Shane Maloney that were first published in Australia and internationally between 1994-2007, and made Maloney Australia's most popular crime writer of the time. 

David Wenham starred as Murray Whelan in a TV adaptation in 2004.
Our anthology includes the first new Murray Whelan tale in 15 years

I feel very honoured and privileged to get to be the Commissioning editor of this book (series) that showcases some of the amazing modern-day crime writers we have in Australia and New Zealand. While I know short stories and anthologies aren't for everyone, I hope the keen crime readers out there will give it a go. 

Here's a sneak peek at the line-up in Volume One: 

  • Alan Carter
  • Nikki Crutchley
  • Aoife Clifford
  • Garry Disher
  • Helen Vivienne Fletcher
  • Lisa Fuller
  • Sulari Gentill
  • Kerry Greenwood
  • Narelle Harris 
  • Katherine Kovacic
  • Shane Maloney
  • RWR McDonald
  • Dinuka McKenzie
  • Lee Murray & Dan Rabarts
  • Renee
  • Fiona Sussman
  • Stephen Ross
  • Vanda Symon
  • David Whish-Wilson

Sulari Gentill, who was born in Sri Lanka and now lives in the Snowy Mountains,
offers readers a prequel to her award-winning Rowly Sinclair historical mysteries

There's lots more I could say about DARK DEEDS DOWN UNDER, but perhaps another time. For now, I'm just swimming in gratitude for the Aussie & Kiwi crime writing community. It's been a pleasure. 

Stay safe, and happy reading. 

Until next time, ka kita ano. 

Whakataukī of the fortnight: 

Inspired by Zoe and her 'word of the week', I've been ending my fortnightly posts by sharing a whakataukī (Māori proverb), a pithy and poetic thought to mull on as we go through life. I'd usually never use the same whakatauki in repeated posts, but given this one's celebrating storytelling on s small scale, it seemed particularly apt. 

Ahakoa he iti he pounamu

(Although it is small, it is greenstone)

Pounamu are treasured items carved in a variety of traditional designs. While they are relatively small - often worn as necklaces - they are powerful and full of meaning.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Voting and Other Criminal Acts

 Annamaria on Monday

What could be more topical in the USA right now than mystery stories about dirty tricks and voting!  Regular visitors to MIE have already met my friend James McCrone, who writes the Imogen Trager series of political thrillers. Today, he is joining in to tell us about a new anthology where all the stories involve party-politic shenanigans.  And about his entry into the mix.  Take it away, Jamie!


Elections matter. Certainly, they count. It seems almost quaint to suppose that the job of a political party is to make its case to the electorate and win the most votes. Particularly if you could somehow shrink the pool of voters, skew them in a way that might ensure a particular outcome, you could at least hold out the “election” result as a fig leaf of legitimacy. The anthology, Low Down Dirty Vote, vol. 3, “The color of my vote,” explores the terrifying reality of life at a global turning point: 22 tales of oppression and voter suppression—about the many ways anti-democratic forces try to shrink and skew the voter pool. It launched on May 15, and it will donate $10,000 to Democracy Docket, which is “dedicated to providing information, opinion and analysis about voting rights and more.” 

And it couldn’t be more timely. Links to where you can buy the book are below. 

My contribution to LDDV-3 was the story, “Nostalgia,” which shines a light on our national dysfunction—well, one of them—the strange, lingering belief that things were somehow better, fairer, more just in some bygone era. I began by wanting to write about the pervasive, creeping dissatisfaction I saw around me, borne of a societal amnesia, abetted by false narratives. A malaise that far too often erupts into anger and violence. I turned to a story about the mob that was giving me trouble.

In the story that became “Nostalgia,” a young, petty criminal can’t believe his good luck when he falls in with a paramilitary group he mistakes at first for the (re)nascent mob. In this world, each character lies to himself about the way things once were: “like they were all living together in some movie where the world still made sense,” the narrator says of the wannabes and dirty cops. And the narrator lies to himself. Until he doesn’t.

As I worked on rewrites of the story, I found that false nostalgia was the catalyst. It was interesting to consider that something more or less benign could be sinister, addictive, could distort and corrupt those who trafficked in it. I found myself pulling Docherty, by William McIlvanney, down from my shelf, chasing a quote I dimly remembered. Early in the book, the character Miss Gilfillan, unable to sleep, takes “a dose of nostalgia like a drug…” Nostalgia as drug was more apt than I knew as the story began to coalesce. 

Because they’re not the mob, they’re a reactionary group that’s taking over the drug trade to finance its attack on the government, an American Taliban. 

Low Down Dirty Vote, vol. 3 drew award-winning writers, and writers who are being published for the first time, from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences from around the globe. It features: Anshritha, Eric Beetner, Stephen Buehler, Patricia E Canterbury, Sarah M Chen; David Corbett, Jackie Ross Flaum, Katharina Gerlach, Barb Goffman, David Hagerty; myself, Camille Minichino, Ann Parker, Thomas Pluck, Miguel Alfonso Ramos; Ember Randall, Travis Richardson, Faye Snowden, Misty Sol; DJ Tyrer, Gabriel Valjan, and Bev Vincent.



LDDV-3: [https://www.amazon.com/Low-Down-Dirty-Vote-Color/dp/1732225869/]

Democracy Docket: [https://www.democracydocket.com/about-us/]




James McCrone is the author of the Faithless Elector series novels—Faithless ElectorDark Network, and Emergency Powers—“taut” and “gripping” political thrillers about a stolen presidency. His work has appeared in Rock and a Hard Place; Retreats from Oblivion: The Journal of NoirCon. His next novel, currently under review, is Bastard Verdict, a political thriller set in Scotland. He’s currently at work on a thriller set in Oregon’s wine country, a (pinot) Noir tale of corruption and murder, w/t Witness Tree.


He’s a member of MWA, Int’l Assoc. of Crime Writers, ITW, Philadelphia Dramatists’ Center and he’s the vice-president of the Delaware Valley Sisters in Crime chapter. James has an MFA from the University of Washington in Seattle. A Pacific Northwest native (mostly), he lives in South Philadelphia with his wife and three children.


You can learn more at http://jamesmccrone.com  

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Repost: How to Write a Cable TV Miniseries

Annamaria on Monday

It's a beautiful spring day, the Sunday of a holiday weekend.  I have two choices: to take a ride in my adorable red roadster and visit The Cloisters Museum with a friend who needs cheering up.  Or stay inside and write a blog. What would you do?

In lieu of new material, I offer a satiric post from eight years ago.  This post has gotten more than 1500 hits.  It appears among whose that come up for people who are searching for real instruction.  Though I was poking fun, given the current state of the "art,"  I fear people may be using it as an actual template.  What do you think?  PK

The following instructions are based on a study of these successful series: Rome, The Tudors, The Borgias, The Game of Thrones.

First, choose your setting
Historical settings work well, especially if they involve costumes of opulent fabrics, stately architecture and colorful interior decoration, and if they take place at a time when the countryside is open and beautiful and entirely free of suburban sprawl.  Mythical places are also acceptable even if they mean drab costumes and plain buildings, in which case the use of magic is recommended.

The most important aspect of the setting is that the story absolutely MUST take place at a time where position in society has more to do with birthright or fabulous wealth than with morals or intellect and where combat—both between individuals and armies—involves hacking or automatic weapons.  This last point is essential.  The weapons of combat MUST not only draw blood, but easily remove digits, hands, feet, arms, legs, heads, and by the end of Episode One of Season Two, the splitting of at least one body at the waist.

Two powerful factions:  One is led by an older man (Mr. BIG) who is in danger of losing his position.  The other is led by a person of almost equal power (Mr. Just-Shy-of Big) or by the person whom Mr. BIG deposed in the not too distant past (Mr. Used-to-be Big). There need not be an ultimate prize for which the factions are competing, except for dominance over one another.  There must be no obvious good guys and bad guys.  The series will end, if it ends, when one of the leaders dies. Alternatively, there can be one dominant faction led by an aging but still virile king/chief/Caesar/capo (Mr. BIG) and two or three contending factions—led by younger men (Messers Wanna-be BIG 1, 2, etc.) whose strength is on the rise, but who must also compete with one another in their pursuit of the throne of Mr. BIG.

From time to time, as the story and/or the ratings threaten to lag, one of the characters who seems essential and/or who is actually attractive to the audience will suffer a seemingly life-threatening injury or illness.  Scenes in this regard can be slotted in wherever necessary.

Each faction is led by a powerful, charismatic leader, consumed with greed for dominance, entirely devoid of conscience, and possessing an insatiable sexual appetite (regardless of his age).  His weakness: he has a child on whom he dotes—if a son, the young man is weak of will, if a daughter, she beautiful and scheming, not to be trusted.  These can be identical for both factions, or Mr. Just-Shy-of BIG might have a scheming son and a weak willed daughter.  Her weakness must then be for hunky men who are not loyal to her father.

The main warriors are all hunky men capable of hacking all day and ravishing women all night.  Rarely, one of them may, however flawed he is, be capable of truly heroic deeds and posses a humane sense of honor.  At least one successful series (Rome) has had such a character (Titus Pullo), played by a hunk who can also act.  In such cases, he will become beloved by at least one female fan (Me).

The young women are all beautiful and hardly short of nymphomanaical.  Unless they are frigid.  Those past their childbearing years are either faded beauties (Lady Sexual Predator) or evil to the core (Duchess Wrinkled-Mother-of-Mr. Wanna-be BIG).

Children younger than ten are there to be used as props—to create tension if they are in physical danger or audience responses of shame/titillation/anxiety if they are witnesses to illicit sex.

The Script
Season One – Episode One
Scene One-Mr. BIG discusses the precarious nature of his grip on the throne with his trusted advisors, including an incredibly sexy clergyman or woman who has taken a vow of celibacy. (This is true even if the oversexed Mr. BIG is himself a clergyman who has taken a vow of celibacy.)   The scheming and immoral nature of BIG’s rise to power is made evident.  One of his trusted advisors comes across as less than trustworthy.  His son’s weakness is revealed.

Scene Two – Mr. Dodgy Trusted Advisor has sex with BIG’s wife/daughter/sister.  Close-up of female waist-up nudity.

Scene Three – this takes place in a sunny bucolic setting, next to a glistening stream in springtime.  Hand-to-hand combat between the son/step-son/nephew of BIG and a kinsman of Mr. Just-Shy-of BIG’s family. Blood is shed.  No body parts are removed.  Mr. JSB’s family member makes it back to his own camp before he dies.

Scene Four – Dodgy Trusted Advisor informs BIG of the fight and the death of the enemy chief’s kinsman, which leads to a shouting match between BIG and the son/step-son/nephew who had jeopardized the uneasy peace between the factions.  The young relative leaves the room.  BIG and the others see that they must gird themselves for war.

Scene Five – BIG’s offending young relative goes for solace to his mother/aunt/sister/female first cousin.  She is extremely sympathetic.  In words, the two are straightforward, but in attitude, they are quite seductive toward each other.  No actual sex incestual sex takes place.  A small child enters just as the scene ends.

Scene Six – JSB’s camp is in an uproar over the death of their precious kinsman.  Various strategies are suggested for dealing with this affront.  Many hotheads call for blood.  A supposedly celibate clergyman in JSB’s court advises a more moderate response but is loudly rebuffed.  JSB questions the clergyman’s loyalty, and the priest is driven from the room in shame.

Scene Seven – The possibly disloyal clergyman brings his hurt ego to JSB’s wife/sister/daughter.  Soft core porn scene ensues, involving views of female full frontal nudity and the clergyman’s very attractive naked butt.

Just before the roll credits….
Warriors in both camps sharpen their hacking tools.  A rider receives a message from the hands of JSB and speeds through the night toward BIG’s castle/fortress.

Season One – Episode Two
Scene One – WAR!!  Hacking left and right.  Many spear carriers and archers die while loosing limbs.  One horse is killed with an arrow in his eye.   An essential warrior in BIG’s army is very badly wounded.  JSD’s General looses an arm.  No decapitations, however.  JSD’s army comes out ahead.  Nothing is really decided.

Scene Two – BIG, who is roaring drunk and fully clothed, debauches his wife’s blond lady-in-waiting.  The scene ends with her stealing down a dim corridor, her dress in tatters, her beautiful bare chest heaving.  She meets a child in the hallway.

And so it goes…  You should be able to take it from here by using the following guidelines.

Plot-Thickening Scenes: three in each episode, two from one side, one from the other.  Choose from the following:
Small group discussions by sub-factions plotting against their lord or against someone he loves but who is disloyal.
Large group arguments where many advisors try to sway BIG or JSB.  In such a scene, it is impossible to tell for sure who is sincerely for or against their lord.  Ambiguity leads to a longer rather than shorter run in any series.
One-to-one meetings conspirators in dark corridors or stables where plots are hatched between traitors.
The mysterious death—NOT by hacking—of a character the audience might have actually liked.

Hacking Scenes: War in ever third episode.  One or two other hacking scenes in every episode in which there is not a war.  Chose from:

Large group melees
One-to-one duels, ending in the death of one participant, or both
Stabbings in the back
Hacking rules:
At least two decapitations by the end of Episode Four
Women may be killed, but they are not hacked apart if they are blond and/or blue-eyed

Sex Scenes: At least one long one or two short ones in each episode, given in the following order.  The amount of nudity and the time the camera lingers on the body parts increases over the life of the series:
Illicit sex involving betrayal of BIG or JSB
Illicit sex viewed accidently by a member of the clergy
A man ravaging a woman dear to this wife
Sex between a clergyman and a person married to someone else.
A man raping his wife
Illicit sex viewed accidently by a child who is likely to report it.
Seduction of a virgin by a member of the clergy
Sodomy.  The sex of the participants is irrelevant.
            Multigenerational group sex

Okay, folks, there you have it.   If you use this and become rich and/or famous, you must share with me 15% of your earnings and invite me as your date for the both the Emmy and the Golden Globe Awards.

No Quitting Until the Work is Done!

Japan’s Manuscript Writing Café

Zoë Sharp


When it comes to themed cafés and restaurants, there’s no doubt that Tokyo, Japan leads the world.


Want to go somewhere you can cuddle a hedgehog while you sip your cappuccino? You need to go to the Harry establishment in the Roppongi district. Feel the urge to pick up a penguin while you, er, pick up a Penguin**? Then the Penguin Bar at Ikebukuro is the place for you.


And if it’s the world of Lewis Carroll you crave, take a trip down the rabbit hole at the Alice in Fantasy Book restaurant in Kubukicho, Shinjuku.


But in April this year, a new themed café opened in the Koenji neighbourhood. The Manuscript Writing Café is run by Tykuya Kawai, who is also a technical writer. It is intended not only to give writers, artists, editors and proofreaders somewhere to work, but as much encouragement as they feel they need to get on with it. 

The small café is open afternoon through evening from 1pm to 7pm. It is situated inside a recording and broadcasting studio—Koenji Sankakuchitai—so is open only when the studio itself isn’t in use.


Patrons may book one of the ten seats available if they are actively working on a writing project, but this can be anything from a novel to a manga storyboard. The only other requirement is that you must state what you aim to achieve while you’re there, and how long you think it will take you.


Kawai charges by time—150 Japanese yen for the first thirty minutes ($1.18/£0.93) and 300 yen per hour after that. For that, you get an unlimited supply of tea or filter coffee, and chairs that do not encourage a relaxed slouch. On the technical side, the café provides high-speed wi-fi, a range of docks and chargers, and even cooling stands so your laptop won’t overheat, even if your brain begins to fry.


Customers are, apparently, not allowed to leave before the project is completed, and can request various levels of ‘encouragement’ from Kawai. This varies from just enquiring into progress at the end of the allotted session, to hovering behind the writer’s chair and, presumably, giving the occasional quiet tut. There is no music unless the writer puts on headphones, and the ambient noise from outside is enough, it seems, to provide a subtle stimulus.


I know many writers who do their best work in local cafés. There’s something about the background buzz that allows them to concentrate far better than being at their desk. Plus, being away from home means not being distracted by any one of a dozen different domestic tasks that are clearing their throats on the sidelines.


Personally, I like any working environment. If I’m at home, I’ll work at my desk, outside in the garden, with my feet up on the sofa (if I don’t get pinned down by a cat) or in bed. Last week, I had two appointments in a town about ten miles away that were just far enough apart to leave me at a bit of a loose end between them, but not quite far enough to make it worthwhile making two trips.


I sat in the sunshine with a notebook, and made a decent amount of plotting progress.


What about you? Do you like the sound of the Manuscript Writing Café, or would it be your worst nightmare? The only drawback, as far as I can see, is the fact that it doesn’t actually serve food. 


This week’s Word of the Week is cunctator, from the Latin meaning delayer or procrastinator. It was applied as an agnomen (honorary) surname to Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, a third-century Roman statesman and general. Fabius was a magistrate (censor), consul, and dictator of Rome, who faced Hannibal’s forces during the Second Punic War. His initial tactics of avoiding direct confrontation against a larger and more formidable foe gained him the title Cunctator, initially intended as an insult. However, his strategy of wearing down the enemy by attacking supply lines and by smaller skirmishes proved successful in the long run. Fabian tactics were later regarded with due respect.


**This phrase will not mean much to anyone who does not remember the UK TV advertising campaign for the chocolate-covered Penguin biscuit bar, which ran for years with the slogan, “P-p-p-pick up a Penguin!”

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Does Size Really Matter?





Or, considering today’s topic, perhaps I should say Satyrday.


Virtually all the news these days is saddening. At least that’s how I see it. Name any subject of existential concern and I sense us closer to its nadir than at any other time in our lives. No need to list examples, we all know them far too well.

But this coming Tuesday, after far too long away, I return to Greece and its promise of the sort of fresh perspective it always brings to me. Yes, Greece shares many of the same threats as the rest of our world, but it also offers upbeat distractions and a sense of peace I cannot find elsewhere.


Among those distractions are moments of serendipitous instruction by the ancients on how to navigate decidedly modern challenges. My most recent experience in that regard suggested a different way to take on the online cyberbullying scourge often aimed at the size or shape of another’s body. 


The targets are most often teenage girls, and for many the experience is deeply troubling, inflicting long lasting traumatic effects on their lives. Social media, the commercial media, and entertainment in general are often pointed to as fueling the crisis, what with their penchant for glorifying some body types, while ridiculing others.

Well, I just read an article offering comforting insight to all genders that how the world now happens to view our respective physical attributes is a historically nuanced matter of fashion, not substance.  Each of us can now point with pride to eras glorifying our natural physicality over what might now be considered the “in” shape or size.


The subject of the writing that brought on my epiphany is the modern male’s most scorned/adorned/forlorn body part and how it may be gaining a new measure of celebrity–both literally and figuratively. 


The following story appeared under the byline of Tasos Kokkinidis in The Greek Reporter, a Greek news organization for Greeks around the world. The article’s title should be enough to grab most folk’s attention: “Why Greek Statues Have Small Penises: Woman’s Lecture Goes Viral,” but for those looking for a bit more enticement, there are its subtitles, e.g., “Small penises in Greek statues ‘a sign of virtue, of civility,’” and The small penis was consonant with Greek ideals of male beauty.


[Ed note: In the course of my research, I came across an earlier article appearing in Artsy by Alexxa Gotthardt titled, “Why Ancient Greek Sculptures Have Small Penises,” covering (or uncovering) much of the same material. I guess one could say there’s a groundswell of activity out there on the subject.]


And with that introduction folks, here’s the article:


A woman’s explanation of why ancient Greek statues have small penises has gone viral on TikTok.

Even a casual glance at classical sculptures in a museum will reveal that the penis on marble depictions of nude gods and heroes is often quite small.

Ruby Reign took it upon herself to look into the matter. “Have you ever wondered why so many of the ancient Greek statues have colossal muscular physiques and yet a tiny package?” she asked in a video shared on her TikTok.

“What I wasn’t aware of was that the Greeks often presented their enemies, the Egyptians, the satire creatures, and even fools in comedies as having large appendages – so it was quite a negative thing to have, which is quite different today.

“So actually, what I discovered was that big D’s bad and small D’s good in ancient Greece. But why was this? This is obviously different to today.”

Ruby claimed it is all to do with how perceptions have changed. She explained: “Turns out that in ancient Greece, having a smaller package was considered a sign of virtue, of civility, or self-control or discipline.

“Meanwhile, having a bigger one was a sign of lustfulness, of gluttonous appetites and barbarism, which is quite interesting because it’s different to today.”

Together, Ruby’s clips have racked up more than four million views, Lad Bible says with many people in the small willy community delighted by the lecture.

One person commented: “Remember lads we were on top, now the Barbarians have taken over.”

Another said: “We definitely gotta return to our roots.” A third added: “I was really born in the wrong generation.”

Ruby concluded that our changing perception of size illuminates the fact there is no such thing as objective beauty.

She said: “I just think it’s interesting to compare the perspective back then that smaller is better with the view today that, sometimes people think bigger is better.

“And it just goes to show that our beauty standards, our ideals, are all a social construct and we shouldn’t get bogged down feeling bad about ourselves.”

In the ancient Greek world of around 400 BC erect penises were not considered desirable, nor were they a sign of power or strength.

In his play The Clouds (c. 419–423 BC), ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes summed up the ideal traits of his male peers as “a gleaming chest, bright skin, broad shoulders, tiny tongue, strong buttocks, and a little prick.”

Historian Paul Chrystal has also conducted research into this ancient ideal. “The small penis was consonant with Greek ideals of male beauty,” he writes in his book In Bed with the Ancient Greeks (2016). “It was a badge of the highest culture and a paragon of civilization.”

Lustful, depraved satyrs, in particular, were rendered with very large, erect genitals, sometimes almost as tall as their torsos. According to mythology, these creatures were part-man, part-animal, and totally lacked restraint—a quality reviled by Greek high society.

“Big penises were vulgar and outside the cultural norm, something sported by the barbarians of the world,” writes Chrystal. Indeed, across many an amphora pot and frieze, well-endowed satyrs can be seen drinking and pleasuring themselves with abandon.

Mykonos here I come….