4 Ways we had to find porn before The Internet
I’ve decided to start submitting articles to Cracked.com. I still need to nail a golden idea, but this was my first pitch that was rejected. I wanted to put it somewhere, because I spent a while writing it, so I thought I’d put it here.
4 Ways we had to find porn before The Internet
Aye, kids, let me tell you a story. Gather round t’fire and get yer marshmallows ready.
Y’see, back in the day, we didn’t have instant access to pornography like you do. We couldn’t just download it off t’interweb. Even when I got my hands on a computer, it wasn’t that simple.
4) YOUR MUM’S CATALOGUE
In the UK, we had Freeman’s catalogue. That was the main, telephone-directory sized thing we had before we could search for and buy anything in the world in three clicks. As kids, we would instantly turn to the toy section, putting a tick beside anything we’d particularly fancy from Santa that year, or that we’d hope for to receive on birthdays. The new season’s catalogue was a big moment.
Please be wearing the flesh bra, please be wearing the flesh bra
As I grew older, I became more and more attracted to the women’s underwear section. The majority of the bras contained therein were thick, beige monstrosities, but, as time wore on, it was decided somewhere in the higher echelons of the fashion industry that perhaps ladies would like to rest their bosoms in something that was actually quite pretty in addition to being comfortable. So, towards the end of the functional-yet-unalluring underwear part, there were the frilly things, and there was always, always a bra that was slightly see through, in ‘flesh’ tones (but only if you were a white female, of course. Apparently ‘flesh’ meant ‘Caucasian’ back in those days).
That section became well thumbed, and, sometimes, when I was feeling particularly daring, I would rip a couple of the pages out and hope beyond hope my Mum wouldn’t notice and discover me to be the rampaging pervert that I clearly was.
That was until I went through the rite of passage that all young men go through….
3) FINDING A MAGAZINE BEHIND A BUSH
When I was around ten or so, my friends and I would run into the woods behind the houses in my neighbourhood. We’d cycle up the road, then onto the canal, and from there, run down a steep hill into a bunch of trees where, it was said, snakes lived that shot out of holes in the trees and bit your face off. Despite that empty warning, we still went down there, to find adventure, which came in the form of a sewer runoff that ran under the motorway (that was our tunnel to paradise on the other side, lush green fields - after you’d navigated the septic tank), various rope swings, maybe some cigarette butts we could pretend to smoke, and, of course, the ever-present possibility that we might find some rhythm literature.
I don’t mean this. Although faster hands would be handy
The bigger kids would frequent our haunts, too, and they would leave behind the detritus of a more dangerous, fun lifestyle. One of smoking and drinking cider and looking at bongo magazines. After we were sure they were gone, we would wander down and pick through their leavings, like scientists digging through owl shit.
Fuck, I hope they don’t find my copy of ‘Hairy Bushes #13’
And there, from time to time, we found caches of Jazz Rags, filled with Shaven Ravers and ladies who looked disturbingly like our Mums, fuelling some teenage Oedipus complex and psychoanalysis for years afterwards.
We would all stand around, looking at those lovely ladies (and not so lovely, this was the end of the eighties/start of the nineties), and pretending we weren’t aroused, trying to give the impression that you were used to seeing naked flesh on a regular basis. We would rip out the pages and stick them to the trees and try to make a porn den. But, secretly, we were all making wild plans to sneak out of the house after dark, alone, to bring some home without your mates finding out, or trying to secretly rip out a few pages while you were still there and secrete them away in your jacket. But we never could, so all we had were the memories.
Yes, in those dark days before the internet, we had to hunt for porn. The most dangerous form of which was…..
2) PINCHING YOUR DAD’S PORN STASH
We’ve all done it. Gone digging to try and find out which He-Man or Hero Turtle figures you’re getting for Christmas this year (OK, I’m old), and stumbling across what, for a bursting, tingling bunch of hormones that make up a Teenage Boy, was the Holy Grail. Your Dad’s porn stash. For some reason, finding your Mum’s ‘special toys’ was icky, something we never wanted to think about, but knowing your Dad probably enjoyed looking at naked ladies just never entered our heads.
Our eyes were on the prize.
We would start by taking just one. Reading it, breathlessly in the bathroom, too nervous and excited to even do What Boys Usually Do when looking at such things, and then putting it back and panicking for a week that your Dad might have noticed a page slightly out of place, or a speck of dust that was no longer on the cover. Then you would get more bold.
THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP
You’d keep one. On top of your wardrobe, or under the bottom drawer. And the thrill would die away, slowly, and you would crave more and more, until you had fifteen of them, and two of his 74th generation VHS copies that displayed more white noise than flesh. But, over time, he would eventually notice.
The world would come crashing down around your ears as you became convinced that he thought you were a pervert (putting aside the fact that he bought them in the first place), and you would beg him not to tell Mum.
And he never did, because Mum didn’t know that Dad HAD *those* kinds of magazines, so it became a vicious cat and mouse game, him hiding them in more and more elaborate places as you found more and more ways to get at them. And you became less and less adverse to lock-picking to be able to satisfy your raging, rampant hormones.
But then, the digital age arrived…..
1) GETTING THE INTERNET FOR THE FIRST TIME
The early nineties were a heady time for technology. We were slowly discovering that a computer could talk to a few other computers, and you could find photos of naked people on those computers. In the UK, at the time, hardcore porn was illegal, so suddenly finding that you could find a photo of a person stuffed inside another person was an incredible thing.
The internet was, however, expensive, as it was charged per minute, and it was hellishly slow. So all I could find were very slow loading images, one at a time (no such thing as tabbed browsers back then), inching their way down the screen, anticipation mounting. First, the big, permed hair, then the hooped earrings and dayglo makeup, then, finally, after a minute and a half, a nipple would come into view, and that would be the moment that you would hear the key in the door and you’d have to turn off the PC at the switch and hope beyond hope your parents wouldn’t discover what you were up to.
Fucks sake, it isn’t even a woman
Because, in addition to slow internet (the expense of which gave you away because of the high phone bills), the majority of families had only one computer, if you were lucky enough to have one at all, especially one connected to the WORLD WIDE WEB. Not to mention the horrendous screeching noise every time you connected. So you could only try to look at mucky images when everyone went out, or went to bed.
After the glimpse of what may have been, you had no choice but to retire to your room, without your internet porn, without your bush magazines, without your Dad’s porn because he found it all and took it away. Just you and your trusty catalogue, and the flesh coloured bras contained therein.
You don’t know how lucky you are these days.
Shit myself (not literally)
So, it’s 4:55am. I don’t sleep as regular people do.
I can hear shouting outside. Then really, REALLY loud whistling, followed by a loud yell (one of the loudest I’ve heard, aside from mine) shouting ‘MR KILBURN. KILBURN. MR FUCKING KILBURN”.
Then, suddenly a tremendous HAMMERING on my window.
"What the fuck?" Thinks I. I’m wearing a pair of… um… bed trousers? Pyjama bottoms? IDK. They’re black with blue stars on. Just those and a big fluffy beige sweater. I unlock the door and open it, and there’s this big, bald fucker on my doorstep, about half a foot smaller than me (I’m about 6"2/6"3) clutching a mostly depleted bottle of White Lightning (cheap cider).
"Are YOU Mr. Kilburn?" he asks, in a thickish scotch accent.
"No", I said. He asked if I knew Mr. Kilburn. No, I do not. Has Mr Kilburn ever lived here? I’ve no idea, I don’t know my neighbours.
He put his hand out for me to shake. I shook it. Pointed at my trousers and sneered, looking at me angrily. He asked again if I knew Mr. Kilburn, and put his hand out again. I went to shake it, and he pulled me toward him.
"If you see Mr. Kilburn, tell him I…. tell him…. tell him I…. Just tell him. I’ll fucking kill you if you don’t". It looked for all the world like he was going to swing at me, so adrenaline kicked in, ready for it. I fucking hate fighting. Luckily, he didn’t do anything. He just sort of staggered backwards and lunged off into the night.
Fucking Burnley. Fucking. Burnley.
Now I’m all shaky because of the adrenaline that pumped into my system and didn’t get used.
Every time I leave the house, I get dickheads. Now, even at home, I get dickheads.
Get me out of this place, ffs. Then set fire to it. There’s nothing here for me, and this is not my world.
I cried too much today,
I breathed too deeply
and found a whole cavern of sorrow
that expanded and filled the walls
with love and loss and
all that’s in between
My shoulders heaved,
I felt everything all at once
and I emptied my soul on
my living room floor and
I’ve been quite the hermit lately. I went to town today, only to meet a young gentleman at the bus stop on my way there.
He approached me, very shifty, scabs all over his face, close cropped ginger hair, tracksuited. “Mate”, he said, in a very quiet mumble. “Does that hurt?”. He pinched his septum, indicating that he meant my septum piercing.
"No", I replied.
"No, I mean when you had it done, not now"
"Umm… I know. No, it didn’t hurt. Made my eyes water though"
"Oh", he replied. "Alright".
I thought that was the end of it. I pulled out my phone and pretended to be really interested in my lockscreen.
"So", he said, "I was round back of those houses. Derelict back yard. Fuckin’ Diamondback stunt BMX there. I mean… what would you do if you saw that?"
"Er… just walk past, I’d imagine".
"I didn’t". His eyes went all sad and shifty. "I nicked it. I’m not a thief. I’m a drinker, and I smoke a lot of weed but it makes me paranoid. I’m not a thief. But I nicked it."
I have no idea why he was telling me this. He continued;
"But, I think it was a sting, and now I reckon the police are going to arrest me, I’m fucking shitting it mate. I can’t go to prison. I’ve got two girls."
"Oh dear", I said. "Maybe take it to the police station?" I suggested.
"No mate, it’s a stunt bike. I mean…. it’s got no brakes, proper pegs and everything"
At that point (thank goodness), the bus arrived. Luckily, he wasn’t getting on. He’d literally stopped to chat to me.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I try not to be around The Great Unwashed too often. This always happens to me. I know people say I have kind, sad eyes, but fuck me, I’m not a street counsellor.
My bones are on fire.
Ignited with a spark into a heart long dead, new and pulsing with life. It’s something, it came to something, it will come to something. Something strong, something unique. It taught me things, to life, to laugh, to learn, to love. Waiting is hard, waiting is tiring, waiting is cold and sad, but waiting is easy, waiting is awakening, waiting is warm and happy.
December, be kind.
It is better to be fun and grumpy, than angry and cheerful.
Words of wisdom from your friendly, resident Zombiehammer.
Anonymous asked: Tell me all your thoughts and feels?
God. All of them? There’s rather a lot.
Um… It’s quite astounding just how much in love I actually am. It’s been the hardest and easiest thing I’ve ever had to do, and in a couple weeks or so, all the effort should yield fruit. I also really really want this pair of boots I saw earlier. I wish I hadn’t run out of the cinnamon gum that Michelle sent me. I wish it wasn’t 4:33 in the morning and it was an appropriate time to drink some whiskey. I wish I had some whiskey. I have had a joint of pork cooking in apple juice in the slow cooker for the past eleven hours, it’s about time I took it out and put it in the fridge to cool so I can remove the fat. I’m cold. Like really fucking cold, like below freezing and I can’t afford any heating in my house. I don’t have any bread or bacon and I really fancy a bacon butty right about now. I started watching Extreme Cheapskates and it actually made me a bit angry. My ex-wife is weirding me out by visiting my blog ALL THE FUCKING TIME and searching for weird stuff. She even visits Michelle’s blog. I don’t understand why. I miss my boys. I’m looking forward to going to London next month with Michelle and just relaxing and doing nothing over Christmas. I need to do some writing, but inspiration just isn’t happening. I want to start my own Podcast, but I’m not sure what it should be about. It’s very windy outside.
Basically, I’m cold, hungry and in love.
Anything else you want to know? Or more specific? I’m in a writey mood and I can’t think of anything for myself.
I like triggers right now.
A series of promises. I breathe them.
I will never leave you alone.I will always protect you, especially when you don’t need protecting. I will care. I will never forget my promises. I will never let you down again. I will be there when you’re ready, and even when you aren’t. I will be present.
All I am saying is this.
I will love you.
I know, I know, very few people will give a shit about this.
66. Do you like your tumblr friends more than your real friends?
Depends who we’re talking about, really.
67. Facebook or Twitter?
68. Twitter or Tumblr?
Tumblr, is… acceptable.
69. Are you watching tv right now?
I just finished the latest ep of Never Mind The Buzzcocks on BBC iPlayer.
70. Names of your bestfriends?
I don’t do the ‘Best Friends’ thing, really. My longest friend, and closest (even though I don’t see him as much as I’d like) is Greavesy.
I’m just going to answer all of them
Because. I’ll do the first half now, after the jump, and the rest later. I need coffee.
1. Who was the last person you held hands with?
My son, Jack. I think I last held hands with him in December 2012. I’ve only seen him once since then.
2. Are you outgoing or shy?
A mixture of both. It really depends on my mood.
3. Who are you looking forward to seeing?
Dig deeper, heart keeper.
Take my promise, tie it to your throat with red string and sing the songs of the oceans. For nothing can compare to the rolling tides, a promise to be the bride, and taking pride in what’s held inside.
It is below freezing and my breath billows out in clouds of carbon monoxide, warmth against the cool air and a lack of sleep. What have I become? He who waits, he who paints the sky with numb fingers. He who apologises. He who cannot, and he who will.
A blow by blow of my day
- My kitchen flooded with rain pissing through the half-fixed ceiling
- Kitchen ceiling dude came round, gave me some sheets. Ok…
- Beirut kicked off outside. Explosions. Bangers set off outside my door. I blocked my letterbox because I’m terrified someone is going to put one through.
- I filmed myself miming to a skit I recorded about Panda Burgers for The Bitter Sound, a podcast for which I record sketches and random shit.
- 25mph winds started
- (the way you love me is frightning)
- I’m very sad.
- Police Chopper hovering over my house
- I made meatballs. The meatballs I bought look like severed penises.
- I have a cough
- I think someone has something against me regarding weekends
It’s been a strange night.
It is a beautiful fight.
The punches are harsh, but they come few and far between, the rest are fluttering kisses on pale skin that has seen too much heartbreak and woe, and is more than ready for the next stage, for the horns to sound that battle has ceased, and the lion may lie with the lamb. She’s seen things, and so have I. Things that would drive a sane person mad, or a mad person sane. We’ve wept, and shouted, but those times don’t even make up 1% of the other times, the times where words have been whispered, where we’ve watched one another sleep, where we’ve laughed and talked for hours every day over an irritating connection. Where we get headaches on the same side at the same time, or that damn restless leg. The bumbershoots, they mean something, and we both have them. When she paints a puffin on her fingernail because I fucking love puffins. The secret words we share. The open heart beating bang bang bang like a knocking, because I know she’s in my ribcage, on the left, knocking to remind me she’s still there.
It is a beautiful fight, and one neither of us can give up.