DIY: Ropes, chains and gaffer tape

As we get closer to the release date of That Film, I am overwhelmed by the many various ways that people are coming up with spoofs, parodies and spin-offs. My favorite so far is the set of images placing Disney couples in various scenes from Fifty Shades. So wrong and yet so funny.

Among the many retailers preparing to cash in on the event, to my mind, the most considered is DIY giant B&Q (American friends, think Home Depot) who sent a detailed memo to all of its 21,000 staff across 359 stores. Staff have been told to read the book and to prepare for an increase in demand for rope, cable ties and tape.

What i really like about this memo is the tone of its advice regarding “sensitive” customer questions about any of these products. Staff are urged to deal with any such queries in a “polite, helpful and respectful manner”.

Here for information is the full memo:




Following the film release of Fifty Shades of Grey, B&Q employees may encounter increased customer product queries relating to rope, cable ties and masking or duck tape. Store Managers should anticipate the need for extra stock and store staff should read the following brief to prepare them to handle potentially sensitive customer questions.


On Saturday 14th February 2015 popular erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey will be released as a film and is expected to do well in the Box Office. Written by E.L. James, the story follows the relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young, successful business man, Christian Grey, who introduces her to the world of bondage and dominant/submissive sexual role play.

Preview footage depicts a notable scene from the book where Christian Grey visits a hardware store to purchase rope, cable ties and tape. Rather than bought for home improvement purposes, these products are intended to fulfil Mr Grey’s unconventional sexual pursuits.


As the UK’s leading DIY store, we stock many of the products featured in this notable scene and then used later in the film. When the book was released in 2012 DIY and hardware stores in the UK and US reported increased demand of certain products and queries from customers as they tried to recreate their own ‘Fifty Shades’ experiences. We need to be prepared for the same effect when the film is released this month.


It is always B&Q’s policy that products should only be used for their designed purposes. Nevertheless, all staff should read this briefing notice to prepare for potentially sensitive customer enquiries and managers need to be aware of the implications that the film may have on stock levels.


All staff are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the content of Fifty Shades of Grey by reading the novel or watching the film upon its release. Copies of the book will be delivered to each store and can be lent to staff on a one week basis. Understanding the storyline and how some products that B&Q stock feature in the film will better prepare staff for incoming queries.

Queries may be unusual and sensitive in nature but staff are reminded of B&Q’s commitment to assist customers in a polite, helpful and respectful manner. A level of discretion is also advised.

Store managers are requested to monitor stock levels of rope, cable ties, masking tape and duck tape to ensure that supplies do not run low. Fifty Shades of Grey is released in cinemas on Saturday 14th February 2015 and the busiest sales periods for these products are expected to run from Sunday 15th February to Sunday 1st March 2015 with a focus on weekend trading.

The date for the DVD and home entertainment release of Fifty Shades of Grey is yet to be confirmed but a second briefing may be issued closer to that time.



Well done B&Q!

At the start of this blog series I mentioned that there were two BDSM themed films due for release. The second of these appears to harp back to a film style from the 1970’s of which I have already given many examples. The Duke of Burgundy  takes place (surprise surprise) in a big old manor house on the edge of a dark forest. The mansion is occupied by two women living in an intense BDSM relationship, although the film evolves into something far more complex than this.

There is a lot of bondage to be seen in this film but again there is little new about that. Before film makers were able to get away with so much nudity and blatant sex, it was often alluded to by the use of bondage. As far back as the forties and fifties we were watching great biblical epics from Cecil B. Demille who was no stranger to using chains, ropes and whips.

We also had the heroic lead couple in the original 1935 version of The 39 Steps forced to send a night handcuffed together. Even the great Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep (1946) wakes to find himself tied to a couch and dominated by Lauren Bacall.

BDSM has also found its way into family films. I have already mentioned Princess Leia in bondage to Jaba The Hutt but she was tame by comparison to Cat Woman in the 1992 film Batman Returns. Michelle Pfeiffer’s PVC coated and whip-wielding character was surely the most obvious dominatrix in all of film history. She was however almost outdone by the nipple and bulge-defined bat suit worn by George Clooney.

As for the rest, Jafaar from Aladdin (Disney, 1992) had clearly seen Return of The Jedi before he dressed Princess Jasmine. Also, what about He-man in the 1987 Masters of The Universe? The scene where muscular Dolph Lundgren is flogged to the delight of Skeletor is not subtle. Staying with the S.F. theme, who can forget the topless Casper Van Dien being stretched and flogged with a single tailed whip in Starship Troopers.

So you see there is really nothing new about all of this. Nor is it the last time that we will be made to squirm with feigned discomfort at the sight of some forbidden activity portrayed on the silver screen.

Finally, speaking of squirming in discomfort, here is that  tampon scene, apparently too hot for inclusion in The Movie (Fifty Shades of Grey, p. 430) dished up for featuring Anna and Kristoff from Frozen

“He reaches between my legs and pulls out the blue string and gently takes my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet. Sweet mother of all… jeez. And then he’s inside me.”