Sunday, 22 January 2017

Soft Porn Sunday: Jennifer Behr & Kimberley Rowe (+4)

Jennifer Bear.
This is the infamous "telephone scene" that I briefly touched on last week. I say "infamous", even though I'm pretty sure that it isn't, mostly because I asked my dad to go and listen to cricket in the kitchen so I could watch this scene (my excuse: I was watching music videos on The Box). Why was it so important for me to watch it? Well, I'd only ever seen the Justine series once before and there was no way of knowing if it would be repeated. I rationalised that I may never see this scene again, and therefore, I was well within my right to watch it.

And I wanted a nice erection to go to bed with, which was the main reason I used to watch soft porn in those days.

Appearance: Justine - In The Heat of Passion (1996)
Characters: Ursula & Unidentified Male #1 vs. Madame Souvray & Unidentified Male #2, plus Unidentified Male #3, plus Justine. Oh, and a bear.

I get the feeling I'm going to need to explain this one.

Justine is a series made by the same team behind Emmanuelle in Space (although I don't know if Siritzky had anything to do with it - I can't find any information that either confirms or denies this). It's filmed in the same style, featuring a lot of the same actors (minus Krista Allen), and - like those films - contains seven instalments, all with increasing amounts of sex in fairly exotic locations at the sacrifice of plot. Some of the scenes even have the same "carousel" effect - a slowly rotating camera cleverly positioned in front of some scenery, with a hidden 3D feature that appears if you don red/cyan glasses.

The difference - and it's quite a big difference, when you think about it - is that Justine herself (Daneen Boone), the eponymous main character, doesn't actually have a lot of sex. She's portrayed as a barely-legal college student who's on a research trip with her tutor, about whom she fantasises a lot. Most of the sex, at least in the first film in the series, is in dream sequences or performed by her openly sexual pal Ursula (Kimberley Rowe).

This scene is both.

It's a cluttered scene, bookended by Justine, on a bed in some sort of negligée, calling Ursula at their
She's all heart. Heart and legs.
boarding college from wherever-it-is-she-happens-to-be-on-her-endless-study-trips. The scene throws you straight into the action, as Ursula answers the 'phone ("Hello?") while merrily riding a random unidentified male (completely uncredited, and looking a little confused), atop a bed of silken sheets surrounded by plants and hanging pearls.


As the camera rotates around, Ursula continuing to have sex while attempting to carry out a conversation, we see that, in the same room, their tutor Madame Souvray (yes, really), played by Jennifer Behr, is also in the room, riding another unidentified, uncredited male. This is, in fact, the position all participants stay in for the entirety of the scene, with plenty of mix shots and cuts, but never straying from the "woman astride" position which both ladies start off in.

Into this mix throw Unidentified Male #3, a man who comes in to take photographs ("Oh hai!" says
'Phone bill must be enormous.
Ursula, cheerfully.). No, there's no rhyme or reason for this, let's move on.


Okay, so there are two hot women having bouncy sex with unidentified faceless men; why do I like this scene so much? Well, I've noticed some details, and they are:
  • Ursula keeps the 'phone to her ear throughout the entire scene, complete with cord. She even attempts a few snatches of conversation with Justine - which I quite like. Justine's interrupted her in flagrante delicto and she just keeps going!
  • Ursula and Madame Souvray are both in the cowgirl position, but they're facing in different directions: Ursula's facing his head; Madame Souvray's facing his feet.
  • Unidentified Male #1 spends the whole of his time holding a large, conspicuous teddy bear (he hits Ursula over the head with it at one point, presumably in a failed donkey punch attempt...), usually in front of Ursula's vulva. We don't get to see any of it - but I suppose it's a better form of censorship than pixelisation, or just pretending she doesn't have one...
  • The sex itself is quite fun. It's just riding, but there's a lot of effort put into it.
  • Justine is completely oblivious, even though it should be perfectly clear what's going on.
How dense can a person be, especially considering how she's a student and all, to not realise that your
Creeeeeeepy.
sexually adventurous best friend is having sex when she's making copious orgasmic noises down the telephone to you? We do, occasionally, cut back to Justine, who has a hilarious "confused, lul wot?" face on for the entire time. The scene lasts for over three minutes before she clocks.


"Ursula, have you got boys in there again?" she eventually gets around to saying. "You'll get in trouble with Madame Souvray."
"Hold on, I'll check," Ursula replied between moans, before she turns and shouts, "Madame Souvray? Am I in trouble?"

At which point Justine wakes up. It was all a dream, you see, a glorious dream, like the ending of Super Mario Bros. 2, except with more sex and a teddy bear for no apparent reason.

I've always thought this scene was hot (creepy photographer guy notwithstanding, that bit's strange).
It's a jungle out there!
As for why, I can't really pinpoint it - I quite like the 'phone element. It's a nice touch, the fact that Ursula answers the call and Rowe remembers to hold onto the handset for the rest of the scene. The set, while a little messy, is well-decorated (although with too many plants, they may as well be in the forest for one bit!), and while none of the three men involved are particularly attractive, Behr, Rowe and Boone are all very sexy.


Rowe, in particular, is giving it her all, riding away lustfully, making most of the noises (there are a lot of noises...). Were it just her, I'd probably enjoy this scene more, actually - as what she's doing is enough. Jennifer Behr is pretty too, but would it kill you to have two separate scenes for each, without a creepy photographer guy?

But it's all pretty well-put-together, as a whole. There's just as much thought in this as there is in the Emmanuelle scenes. Maybe it isn't quite as good in some areas, but it's not really the same, so you can't blame Justine. It's not as well-established a series and was bound to get lower viewing figures. That we get a sex scene this good in the first episode is something of a blessing, actually.

I just wish I had a version in English, though! My one's in German!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Touchscreen

The gym that I occasionally shamble to, make myself hurt and then go home in tears because I feel fat go to has clearly been recently redone. Something to do with faceless corporate capitalism, no doubt; the inane pop radio station they have blaring 24/7 and the general shininess of all the exercise equipment remind me of two things: the gym owned by Ben Stiller's character in Dodgeball and an entire subculture that I really shouldn't be privy to.

If you take headphones in with you, you can plug them into the machine itself and watch TV or listen to the radio, and if you turn it up high enough, you can hurt your ears, but also block out the irritating middle-of-the-road pop playing for the 'benefit' of all the patrons. I've occasionally cycled my way through an episode of My Little Pony and, at one point, set the bicycle recliner machine to its easiest setting so I could basically sit through a Red Dwarf marathon on Dave while doing realistically very little.

I'm really taking this "exercise" thing seriously, aren't I?

In any case, yesterday I stepped up to one of the treadmills and saw nothing of any note while browsing through the range of options available. Starting to feel pain - not because I was on the treadmill, but because they were playing Meaghan Trainor - I desperately flicked through the other options, and ended up alighting upon something I hadn't noticed before: an internet browser, similar to the one you'll find on an Android 'phone (I suspect that all the machines are running some variant of Android), which - upon being opened - offers up Google as a front page.

I started pacing slow rate as I typed "innocent loverboy" into Google. Up came my blog - exactly as I remember it, and not at all as bad as the version I get when reading it on my BlackBerry. On a bigger screen, it looks a little better, for sure - and I read through a couple of posts before switching to the web version and realising that my little Kinkly button was missing. Evidently they'd seen fit to block Kinkly, while not doing so with my blog. This isn't unusual, there's very little that's particularly explicit here, and it's mostly words; however, it did pique my curiosity.

I tried Molly's Daily Kiss. It opened. Girl on the Net. It opened. Cara Sutra. It opened.

As time went by, and site after site opened for me, it became clear that there was a very weak block in place over Kinkly and a few other things (including Pornhub - although I'm cure that's a given), but all the sex blogs were left untouched (as they should be!). Wondering exactly how far this went, and whether all porn sites were covered, I tapped in the URL for Dreams of Spanking.

It opened.

I quickly dialled back a few pages, lest I should be seen by any of the bearded rugby-type trainers or sweaty women in training bras, and spent the next fifteen minutes reading up on the Digital Economy Bill while jogging on the spot... because, if there's one thing I want to be when I exercise... it may as well be 'angry'.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Just Inedecorous

I've recently received a copy of the first volume of Ash vs. Evil Dead via Amazon Prime. This is an odd occurrence for a number of reasons: one, I don't have Amazon Prime; two, I don't like Evil Dead very much; three, I didn't know this series existed; four, I didn't order it.

After tracking down everyone else in the house and checking, nobody ordered it under my name, either. In fact, nobody ordered it at all. Why it turned up without a packing slip I'll never know - I ordered Mara Wilson's book and the third volume of the Glee soundtrack.

I know the return address to send it to, though, because I ordered some soft porn in my youth and got the wrong stuff. So, naturally, I called Amazon to ask.

"I've ordered an item from Amazon," I said to the helpline person, "but I've received the wrong one. I think it's in the same category, but it's not the right film."
"We can replace it," he said. "What item did you order?"

At this point I realised that I had to admit to a complete stranger that I'd bought a sex film. I was 16 at the time and shouldn't have been allowed to buy one, but I trusted that they didn't have my age. In any case, I thought it best not to make any mistakes. My voice had broken by then, but I decided to make sure I wouldn't be found out by Mr Customer Service.

"Oh, well, I ordered Emmanuelle: Queen of the Galaxy," I said in a Barry White voice. "I'm 18," I lied, in an attempt to add some authenticity. I cleared my throat and proceeded with, "I got a film called Justine: In the Heat of Passion. It's not the same film," I clarified.

I didn't go so far as to claim I didn't know it. I did, in fact, know it. It's another seven-part softcore series made by the same team behind Emmanuelle in Space, to the point of having the same cast and a lot of the same crew, the difference being that Justine is an original creation (played by Daneen Boone), as opposed to a new version of an established character. It even retains the 3D aspect, merry-go-round effect and nauseating theme song about the title character aspects from the Emmanuelle series. It's basically the same thing. But not exactly.

It's not the same film.

"Have you opened the packaging?" he asked. "Is the plastic seal damaged in any way, or have you watched the film at all?"
"Well, it's a VHS," I said in the bass clef. "It didn't have a plastic seal. I haven't watched it."

This was another lie. Of course I'd watched it. I knew enough about this series to remember one particular sex scene that I'd been desperately wanting to find since first seeing it on cable in the late '90s. And I knew, furthermore, that it was this instalment that contained it. I'd put the tape into my VCR, hit play, and then fast-forwarded through the storyline until I found the scene where Justine's friend and teacher ride random men on rotating four-poster beds (...), which I then watched two or three times before stopping the tape, rewinding it, putting it back in the case and calling Amazon.

Writing down the freepost return address seemed a lot harder with the raging erection I still had half an hour later.
"Thanks," I growled like an angry dog. "I'll send..." [pause while I descended into a hacking cough, which went on for about thirty seconds] "...it tomorrow."
There was a moment of abject horror on my part when I realised a fraction of a second too late that I'd said the last bit in a frightened squeak as my throat tried to recover while I was just trying to speak.
"Are you all right?" asked Mr Customer Service.
"Yes I'm okay thank you for your help have a good afternoon bye!" I gabbled in my normal voice, before dropping the 'phone like it was a poisonous spider and went to hide under my bed in case the Underage Soft Porn Police came to find me. Or my mum. Either way.

In any case, I sent it back and got my copy of Emmanuelle. This proved a fruitless endeavour anyway as I was too scared to have it in my possession and watched it all of once before giving it to my token black friend and then ordering it again, on DVD this time, a couple of years later. This time, Amazon got my order right. This DVD's now on my shelf in public view, because frankly, I no longer give a fuck.

But now I know how to return my mysterious copy of Ash vs. Evil Dead. I may even get some money back from Amazon which I should only really use on another purchase.

I wonder if they have Justine...?

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Stardust

Dear Sir and/or Madam,

I saw Leah Harper on "The Sex Show" yesterday, and I think she is beautiful. I would like to make mad passionate love to her.

Do you think maybe we could arrange something?

From,

At this point I paused. Maybe it was a bit creepy. Was it creepy? I didn't know. I still don't. Judging by the beautifully constructed missives that get sent by some people to some places, this was practically very tame indeed. Then again, I was very young at the time, and this was possibly one of the first times I'd ever written a formal letter. I remember worrying that the postman wouldn't deliver a letter addressed to "The Sex Show", but I threw caution to the wind on this occasion.

One has to take into consideration that I wrote this one day after one of the first instances of feeling truly aroused by watching a striptease on TV. Page Three model Leah Harper had been on The Sex Show, one of L!VE TV's homegrown efforts (which I now know were mostly filmed in the same studio), and accordingly, had done the usual Sex Show thing of answering some Q&As:

- where's the most unusual place you've had sex?
- what was the best orgasm you've ever had?
- what was the first sexual experience you had with a man?
- what was the first sexual experience you had with a woman?
- how many questions can the hosts get through before acquiescing and moving on to the striptease?

After this, of course, would be the main event, which ended with a topless model jiggling on the screen. This is, I believe, what people watched The Sex Show for. I don't recall any of the rest of it being particularly entertaining; presumably the sex tips were useful, but I wasn't having sex, so I wasn't going to use any of them (although I was amused by the man who phoned in saying that his penis wasn't big enough...).

But I did write a letter.

I wasn't silly enough to put a return address. I didn't want people writing back to me, although I'd have been chuffed if they'd read it out on TV (they didn't; I doubt any of the letters they read were real). And, in any case, I was going to use a fake name, so it would have been a moot point anyway. I was mostly writing for thrills - I was enjoying the erection that the mere act of writing about wanting to make love to someone was getting me.

But, as I thought, I may as well send it. I've got a stamp and an envelope, so...

From,
"Ziggy" (age 21)

I have no idea why I settled on "Ziggy". It's not even a name I'd ever been called by anyone, nor was it a nickname I called myself (I had, in my youth, a few - the main one I still use now). I probably just chose one of the Koopalings and put a letter Z at the start to make it look quirky. A little more street. Or maybe it made my letter look a little more zhit.

The reason I put my (fake) age is that I was suddenly overcome with shame. I was far too young to be writing to, watching, or even aware of The Sex Show. If my gran didn't have cable TV, I'd never have seen it. I wasn't even original enough to invent a plausible age - I just reversed the digits in my actual age. 12 became 21; that's an age of consent for just about anything, and I probably thought, "there, that'll do."

I stuck a second-class stamp onto the envelope, copied out The Sex Show's address from the letter, sealed it inside, and took it straight to the postbox at the end of the road, shaking with fear, trepidation and a little arousal, looking around every few seconds to see if I was being watched, or even spotted by the postman. (I needn't have worried, really. Postmen never come when you want them to. Two buses went past, but I didn't worry about that too much...)

It's probably still one of the most risqué things I've ever done. I started a sex blog once... but I'm not really sure that compares.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Airbus

Sometimes it's the little things...

I was on the bus. This is not a rare occurrence - there's a bus stop at the end of my road and I need to take one to get anywhere of real consequence. I was, also, sitting on the seat I usually sit on - which, from my use of the adverb "usually", you may not be surprised to find is also not a rare occurrence. It was a cold day, and I was debating whether or not it would be worth taking my gloves off while on the ride itself, when I felt something small.

My initial thought was that some sort of small animal had collided with the back of my leg. I felt something brief, and warm, and not entirely unpleasant - given the weather, any amount of warmth would have been received with gratitude.

At which point I realised that I was sitting next to a hot air vent, and that what had actually happened was I moved my leg to the right and had felt a blast of warm air that both pressed the back of my trousers into my ankle (hence the collision) and had been sufficiently warm enough to catch my attention. And, with a little experimentation, I found that - if I held my body in a certain way - my foot could catch most of the warm air, and that it would create an updraft, channelling the spreading heat up my leg...

I bit my lip and closed my eyes, my iPod keeping out all the noise and bustle, feeling the hot air - so different from the wintry chill I'd been feeling for the rest of the day - tickle its way up my shin, brush against the inside of my thighs, and even gently - ever so gently - making my balls tingle. A tiny touch, but just erring on the side of pleasant to be enough.
 

It was enough. Despite the cold, and the drudge, and the general mundanity of being on a bus, I felt my cock swell, straining a little against the now-warm fabric of my underpants. A little shiver ran through my body, the flap of the fabric and the rush of the vent and the throb, throb, throb of the penis all working together to bring me just a few precious moments of comfort. Warmth and pleasure in an otherwise dull, grey day.

By the time the bus pulled up at my stop I was a little high - not to mention hard. Resisting the urge to stay put and refuse to get off until we reached the depot, I wrenched myself out of my seat, grabbed my satchel and went out into the freezing night air...

...but I was still hard when I got home.

The fan heater I've installed in my room didn't hurt, either.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Fiction: Coral Reef

It hadn't taken me too long to get to the reef. I was waylaid a couple of times on the way - a shark here, an overzealous policeman there - but, considering how long it's taken me in the past, this was an easy journey. I'm aware - as I was then, of course - that I wasn't supposed to go to the reef, but since when have I done anything anyone else told me to? That's what independence is about, right?

Truth be told, I wouldn't have gone there, were it not for the tourists. I wasn't meant to be there for the same reason - but if they weren't meant to see me, nobody had said anything about me not seeing them. 

And I loved to watch them. Hiding under the overhangs of coral, or squeezing into rocky crevices, I could peek upwards and watch them. Seeing the gaggle of people pressed up against the sides of their glass-bottomed boat, their only view of the reef through the screen of their camera or recorded on their 'phone for whatever purpose. It always amused me, how little these people saw. The divers, in all their gear, got a little closer, their masks turning the clear blue into a murky green. But I liked watching those the best. If I was lucky, I'd see one whose suit was possibly a little too tight. All the contours of their body, all the curves, the lines, perhaps seeing more than I should - all framed in plastic, close enough almost to touch...

And that was how I spent my days. If you ever saw a flash of tail larger than you expected, or heard something closer to a giggle, that was me. I couldn't help it. I liked to tease. I still do.

And then, that one evening, I saw her.

It was a clear, starry, moonlit summer night. Even from beneath the surface I could see almost to the top, and I was resting on my back, lying on the coral. Who was going to see me? Everyone would be asleep. The boat had been by earlier - I wasn't expecting it to return. But, this one night, it did. It went straight above me... and the light was on.

I froze, wondering how many people would see me through the glass... maybe if I stayed still enough they'd think I was part of the coral? Or perhaps they'd see my tail and mistake me for a dolphin or something? Maybe I could just make a break for it and...?

...and then I stopped. Because there was only one person there. And there was no doubt about it... she was looking straight at me.

And she was perfect. Her beautiful body like a pool of perfection - a wonderful frame, a good stance, full breasts, and a long sweep of dark hair over one shoulder, all offset by the twinkle in her eyes and the half-smile that turned quickly into a grin as she saw me. From the moment I saw her, I couldn't have moved, even if I still wanted to. With my heart pounding in my chest, my head in a spin and a slight throb just below my stomach, I made to smile back at her.

And then she bit her lip. Running a finger through her hair, she took a step closer to the glass, and traced a line from her collarbone down between her breasts. Even from the distance, I could tell she let out a small sigh.

I'd never really realised until that moment how naked I've always been. My own breasts, buoyed by the swell of the sea, were completely bare, and the only thing that needed to be covered - my own little coral reef - had a shell in front of it, held on by string. It's not something we consider, really, and yet I know those above go for covering most of their bodies. This lady was wearing a clinging white T-shirt and blue jeans, not that either of those left much to the imagination. For the first time in my life I felt underdressed... and yet I still wished I was wearing less.

Maybe it was my nudity that made her do it. Or maybe she was being as rebellious as me. But once she started cupping her breasts, I didn't really care any more. I copied her, caressing my own tits, running my fingers over my soft skin, even teasing my pert nipples once or twice. Holding her gaze, I licked my full lips and swept a hand through the water. If she was going to do more, I was going to make her want more.

And how much more I wanted. If only I'd had her with me. I'd have my mouth pressed against hers, melting into a deep, passionate, lustful kiss. We'd be able to curl our bodies together, our breasts mashing together, her legs wrapped around my tail. Maybe she wouldn't have those clothes on - maybe her sex would brush against mine. Would her tongue caress my warm, wet slit? Or maybe mine would hers? What would her curves feel like under my hands? Or her legs, wrapped around my head, while she grips my hair and cries out?

As all these thoughts spun through my head I realised that I had my eyes closed and a couple of fingers underneath my shell, stroking my warm lips, a pulse coming from my pearl, rocking my body. I arched my back, unable to stop myself, and from what I could see of her above, she was more than enjoying this view. I'd rarely given way to my desires, been so wanton, not least for one of those above. And yet, at this moment, in this place, it felt natural. It felt right. It felt good.

"Ha de schemo," I whispered throatily, "mashada... la samoli... no pike sali..." And I let out, finally, a long, low moan, something that I heard echoed all the way through the cavernous sea, whistling through the coral, making the water whip around my hair.

I looked up at her, body throbbing, and could see that she had sat down, and had her legs pressed firmly together, her hands still stroking her breasts through her shirt. Desperate to give her that sweet release she needed, I shook myself out of my reverie, wanting to swim up there and take her; it just seemed so simple an idea, so easy, and would be so rewarding...

I lay there watching as she managed to stand up and walked unsteadily away, giving me one more coquettish look over her shoulder before vanishing, the light dimming as she did so. My hand stretched out... but she was gone.

As I made my way back home, I entertained myself by wondering exactly what she would be doing once she got back to her cabin. Maybe her dreams would also be slick with lust that night.

As an entry for Charlie Powell's "Polished" competition. I know very little about nail polish... although more than I do about lipstick... but this was still fun!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Execute Order 2017!

A hashtag started trending on Twitter today - that of #firstdayback.

Which I kind of get. I'll admit that, in almost every way, I've never stopped working in academic years. While, this year, I did quite enjoy Christmas and New Year (seeing the usual performance of Will Young's Evergreen on a lounge floor is always a highlight), I've never really seen it as a bookend. Summer is - a time to vegetate. The fact that I've been doing so for a few weeks now is unforeseen.

I have a day job, but I won't go back until Thursday. I'd be back already if I still had the same timetable as I had before Christmas, but I don't. My hours have been cut down and, while this may severely affect my pay, what's bugging me the most about the whole "right now" thing is that I'm not doing much. I have a book to edit. I have a blog to write. I have a room to look after.

And that's it.

When the Christmas period started, I was looking forward to a few weeks' break. Lord knows, I'd burnt out by the end of the calendar year, that's a certainty. And, however I may feel about my job at any given point, I can't say I want to go back.

What I need right now, I believe, is anticipation. I need something to look forward to - maybe something every month. Week. Day. Something that I can hold onto. Now Rogue One has been and gone, I need a new thing.

Today I bought, with Christmas money, my ticket to Eroticon 2017. Two months seems like an awfully long time from where I'm sitting right now.

I need more.

It looks like it's going to be a slow crawl through January whether or not today is your #firstdayback, but if I don't start crawling, I'll never go anywhere.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Word Association

As my friend-who-is-a-teacher poured the fifth cup of tea and then took her place on the sofa, my bald weightlifting friend's wife pulled another card from the bag, inflatable hammer at the ready in order to hit people over the head if they faltered. She'd been hitting her husband a little harder than everyone else.

"Black," she offered.
"White," offered Mane Jr.
"Whiteboard," said my bald weightlifting friend.
"Class," said Mane Jr's girlfriend.
"Teacher," I offered.
"Student...?"
"Child...?"
"Adult...?"
"Porn!"

Everyone dissolved into laughter at the existence of the word "porn". We are, after all, about five mentally.

Once everyone had coughed themselves back into something approaching a respectable position, Mane Jr's girlfriend - who had met us all a few hours earlier and was coping pretty well with the whole thing - was given a topic. My bald weightlifting friend's wife fished around for another subject and pulled out...

"Teabag!"

It took a while to get my friend-who-is-a-teacher back into her sitting position. I suppose it's the small pleasures in life.

"Whose go is it now?" she choked.
"I think it must be yours," I offered.
"Okay, please give me a topic that doesn't have any sexual connotations or we'll never get this finished!"

And she poured herself another Baileys while another slip of paper was grabbed from the bag.

"Baps!"

One hour later and we were still laughing.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Baton

For two and a half years (or more) of my three years at university, I spent two evenings a week playing in a band that had very few fans. It was a large ensemble - I'm more suited to rock, as 47 will probably tell you, or folk or something that doesn't require a lot of musical talent, like indie pop. My university, however, was woefully lacking in facilities for the creative arts. It didn't even have a society for musicians until my third year, when some very enterprising musical students started one (and a band to go with it). The only way I could play music was by joining this ensemble.

So I joined.

I didn't have much to do. Arrangements of things were sometimes lacking in my chosen instrument, and there were some rehearsals where I played something like eight notes in the first hour or whatever. I developed a meditation technique, sitting at the back of the room with my eyes closed (I was in the middle, at the back, so I was there anyway) and letting the music wash over me. At times, it was magical.

The problems came when I was actually playing. I was nervous, intimidated and aware that I was out of place (I was in a room full of rural Tories and military types; there was one other vegetarian and very few fellow students). I wasn't exactly that bad at my chosen instrument (well, I wasn't great, but I was OK); the environment made me more and more nervy and I occasionally missed my cue or played a bum note - as we all did. I just got picked on for it.

I ingratiated myself as best I could. Went for drinks with the band, got elected as assistant librarian (leading to a memorable evening once with a roll of Sellotape, a whole band's-worth of musical manuscript and Pokémon: Spell of the Unown on the TV for distraction) and offered to take over (redesign, actually) the website for free. As webmaster, I could put my talents to more use, and every now and again, I got faint praise for it.

My section leader hated me. He was an ex-military man with an incredible number of letters after his name, self-serving and shouty and suddenly being asked to share his section with a pacifist vegetarian socialist student. He yelled at me, pushed me aside and, several times, lied about me to make me look bad (or, in more than one case, stupid - despite being a student, he thought I was an idiot). I kept going back, trying to be cool about it and the music being my main draw, but he had no idea about the effect he was having on me. I once ended up in my room, shivering under the bedcovers and talking to my dad about wanting to kill myself because of what he'd said that night.

The conductor started on me as well, and this only continued to get worse and worse, a twice-weekly torrent of verbal abuse, worse than what you'd get from the school bully. I don't know why I stood it - I had no power to do otherwise - but nobody else seemed to want to take him on. I used to self-harm in the bathrooms and go home to scream and hit my head against the wall, occasionally coming out with an intelligent quip that made my friends in the section in front of me laugh, but usually in too much of a tizz to do anything else. He once fired the cornet player on whom I had a crush and forbade anyone to talk about or to her ever again, and out of the whole band, I was the only one who disobeyed, e-mailing her immediately to ask if she was okay and if there was anything I could do.

I was a victim. I know that now, and I kind of knew that then, but I saw nothing I could do apart from quit the band, and I didn't want to do that or I'd have lost my sole creative outlet. And, to be fair, I loved the applause at concerts and the bow I got to take when I played solos. Not every gig was good, but they mostly went well enough.

In my second year, I developed - after a few months of constant abuse and being called a wanker by the conductor - a coping mechanism.

Porn.

I was single and a university student and by this point I'd amassed a fairly large collection of porn. I had my soft porn DVDs (some of which I still have) and was starting to build up what would eventually make up my Discs of Wonder™. I also had a large room in the share house at which I was living, and for the first time in what seems like ever, I was enjoying myself sexually without fear of being caught. I used to get my release by familiarising myself with my sexuality, occasionally doing the sex chatroom thing or reading/writing erotic fiction - even, at some points, discovering sex blogs in their fledgling forms - but nothing so much as just putting on some soft porn and bringing myself off.

More so than ever, my second year was what influenced my tastes in porn, which continues to this day. I had a handy release in wanking; porn was, for all its flaws, my safe space - where no right-wingers could corner me in the library and yell at me for wearing a white poppy. No ex-marine could hide sheets of music so that I couldn't find them and had nothing to play. No conductor could tell me that I had no sense of rhythm because of being a vegetarian. When watching porn, I was untouchable; invulnerable; invincible. I'd masturbate once before going to band, go and rehearse and be shouted at, return and masturbate again before going to bed.

It was my sweet release, the calming embrace of hand around cock more of a relief than crying it all out or chain-smoking cigarettes like the conductor did. At least, as I reasoned to myself, at least I have something all to myself, something I can control which feels good. And, in those moments, I was doing more for myself than I'd ever done.

In my third year, I returned from a contest to find my housemates sitting in the lounge eating dinner.

"How did it go?" asked one of them.
"We didn't do well," I admitted. "Seventh out of eight. We threw it away in the second movement. Massive confidence knock. I'm not too worried," I assured them, as they blanched. "Contesting's not my thing anyway, There's a real gig next week, that's much more fun."
I took a few chips and a slice of bread.
"Conductor called me a wanker," I said after a few seconds.
"He what?!" said the other three.
"Yeah, well..." I said, as I got up to help clear up. "He's got a point."

And returned to my room, where my porn lay waiting silently for me.

Monday, 26 December 2016

And all that jizz...

Friend: "That's the first time I've ever been in that situation, you know, so I think I handled it rather well."
ILB: "I've no idea what I'd do!"
Friend: "Keep calm and carry on!"
ILB: "And all that jazz!"
Friend: [Laughs.] "I had to re-read that!"

ILB: "Why?"
Friend: "I thought it read 'and all that jizz' at first..."
ILB: "Well... that's good too."
Friend: "You know it. That's how the situation ended, anyway. Jizz. With some tea for recovery."
ILB: "All the best stuff."
Friend: "Best Christmas pudding ever."