Bella Green is Charging For It
Bella Green takes us through her journey from working at a fast-food joint to being an apprentice in a sex dungeon, without self-deprecation or self-pity – indeed, with genuine pride and refreshing confidence. Her stories smash through any stigma or discomfort that we, the audience, might be feeling. There’s none from Bella: she revels in the provocative, but it’s not all done for laughs. Bella quit her most degrading job because of her moral compass: not as a sex worker, but in a call centre for a bank. It’s this (and other) observations of our culture’s hypocrisy that make her storytelling sharper than a simple stand-up.
Her anecdotes are not for the faint-hearted: nothing is taboo, and Bella has the charm and ability to talk about all extremes of her work with the same serenity as a discussion on blueberries. Working with a diverse audience (including the hecklers!), we’re comfortable to laugh out loud, whether the scenarios are familiar to us or not.
Where Bella sometimes trips over is, at least in part, the fault of the venue: whilst intentionally not a conversation to be whispered, her words can get lost in the open-air enormity of The Lark (acknowledging this is how we’re able to experience live performance in a Covid-safe environment). Some of her jokes are left hanging in the night – but that’s not always an issue, because she has enough stories to keep us laughing.
There are equal measures of humour at the expense of her work and her clients: there are chuckles for the strangeness and perspectives of the men that pay her; but also a few more serious moments on how she provides a safe space, how she gets to see them vulnerable. These deserve more exploration, particularly because this is strongly related to Bella’s perspective on her role in society, which she shares with us entirely without fear.
Bella Green is charging for it, and more of us should be paying to listen to her.
Photographer: Matt Hofmann