The Profumo Affair

In 1963 the British establishment was rocked when an affair between its then War Secretary, John Profumo, and Christine Keeler, a nightclub dancer, emerged.

In the moral standards of the time, the affair might have been enough to see Profumo forced to resign in disgrace. What made it worse -for Profumo- was that Keeler had also slept with a Russian naval attache with links to Russian intelligence, Yevgeny Ivanov. In the light of the Cold War paranoia of the times…and possibly some well founded doubts…the idea grew that ‘pillow talk’ between Profumo, Keeler and the Russian might compromise the UK’s national security.

Within a year, Profumo’s Conservative party had been voted out of power in favour of Harold Wilson’s Labour Party, and it’s possible to suggest that ‘the Profumo Affair‘ played a part in that.

The Profumo Affair still has some cultural resonance in the UK, with a 1989 film, ‘Scandal’, dramatising the events (and the Pet Shop Boys having a hit single with the title song), and Andrew Lloyd Webber created musical from the story, ‘Stephen Ward’ (Ward being the man who introduced Keeler to Profumo).

Afterwards, Keeler began what she called her ‘slow descent into obscurity’, but not before sitting for one of the most iconic images of the British 1960s.

…as well as some slightly ‘racier’ (for the time) topless shots.

So iconic is the chair shot that you can buy a version on Second Life’s Marketplace, (L$149).

Abbey, an SL friend who lives her SL in an almost permanent state of a vintage/retro look, has a similar chair. Sadly, she can’t remember where she obtained it, otherwise I’d have pointed you at the seller as well.

But it evokes a certain similarity to Keeler’s shots very well, as well as being a little ‘racier’ than the Keeler original.

Abbey has been doing a bit of posing for us recently. I won’t go as far as to suggest that this is the starting point for another ‘Vintage Season’, but we’ll certainly have a couple of upcoming posts  that reflect on the historical nude in the coming days.


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