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Daredevil Ewan is prepared to swing for his art; books EWAN MORRISON Swung (Jonathan Cape, pounds 11.99).

Byline: by Lorne Jackson

FRENCH novelist Gustave Flaubert said: "Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work."

In other words, to write exciting fiction, you have to be as dull and boring as an accountant.

Novelist Ewan Morrison has failed in that respect. Because he is not dull. He is not boring.

In fact, for the last year he has lived a life that is most unaccountantish.

Unless you happen to be one of those lucky accountants who have oodles and oodles of kinky sex with strangers.

Ewan spent 12 months as a swinger.

Teaming up with a variety of frisky, freewheeling gal pals, he met other couples, chatted to them in pubs, sipped drinks with them, visited their houses, complemented them on their wallpaper, munched their nibbles...

Then indulged in rampant sex with them.

Now he's written a book, Swung, based on his year of ding-dong debauchery.

Clearly Ewan is having more of a laugh than gutless Gustave.

Chatting to him, I ask the most obvious question.

"So Ewan, uh, well, um, was it... fun?"

"It certainly was an interesting time in my life," he chuckles. "I had just returned to the UK from America, where a film directing job had fallen through.

"Looking for something interesting to do, I started on-line dating.

"On every website I visited, there were adverts for swingers.

"At first I just clicked on for curiosity, to discover how it worked.

"It was like a nightclub where you have been refused entry. Because you are on the outside looking in, you end up with a desire to find out what the dress code is, how you can sneak through the door.

"So I found out. I sneaked through the door."

There was a lot to learn in this strange new world of ogling and orgies.

A secret code for a start.

For instance, MBA is not a business degree in swingerland.

It means that you are married but available.

BBW is shorthand for Big Beautiful Woman.

The type of lady who probably wants to hook up with an FA - Fat Admirer.

Ewan also discovered that swingers do not conform to any stale cliche or stereotype.

Contrary to popular opinion, they are not all middle-class, middle management types, chucking car keys into a swimming pool.

Many swingers are working class. They also cover a wide range of professions.

"I met a vast range of people," he says.

"There were call-centre girls, stand-up comedians, a male model, professors.

"Another strange thing was that it wasn't always erotic.

"It could be a good laugh.

"Although nerve-racking to begin with, there were always points where you could walk away if you felt uncomfortable with the situation.

"What I really felt was that it was all very surreal.

"One minute I'd be sitting with my partner, talking to a couple we hardly knew, eating Doritos and cream cheese, chatting about politics and the weather.

"Then we'd have sex with them."

Sometimes swinging proved to be downright silly.

One bloke Ewan met, nervous of nooky, tried to break the ice - with disastrous consequences.

"He was this Mr Pub Singer type. And he started belting out this awful rendition of Robbie Williams' Angels... while wearing nothing more than a leather jacket and underpants."

Eventually, Ewan grew bored of the swinger scene.

Starting work on his novel, he became more interested in the fictional elements of his tale of delight and debauchery.

He is now in a monogamous relationship.

So perhaps he has flopped into Flaubert's no-fun mode at last.

"Like any adventure, swinging would have become dull if repeated for too long," argues Ewan.

"I got out before it became routine. My current partner understands what I went through, as do my parents, who are very liberal.

"It certainly isn't something I regret.

There might have been a lot of sex, but curiously enough, what I mostly learned about was love and relationships."

lornejackson@mrn.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Apr 15, 2007
Words:666
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