Monday, 1 July 2013


I gave away some soft porn once.

Only once. I remember selling some in my second year of university. I had The Exotic Time Machine II, subtitled Forbidden Encounters, on VHS for a while, but - disappointed with the fact that most of the sex scenes had been cut from the release - I sold it on eBay, with the proviso "most of the scenes have been cut" on the item description. It went anyway, for a decent price, to a guy named George. I hung onto the rest of my collection, of course, and it's a collection I still have today.

However, when I was 17 I was still in my "it's a very bad thing to own so let's get rid of it all" phase. I had, gleaned from Amazon by virtue of pretending to be 18, two of the Emmanuelle In Space series - Queen of the Galaxy (aka First Contact), the first and probably the best, and Concealed Fantasy (aka There's More To Love Than Sex), the fourth and also probably the best, depending on which mood you're in. These were both, of course, on VHS (I didn't have a DVD player at the time as it was still relatively new when I was 17) - and I watched each of them once before wondering what to do with them.

I couldn't have just kept them. There wasn't a VCR in my room and, although I was at home at certain points during the day (my free periods being a kind of saving grace in the sixth form), I couldn't really watch them in the lounge either, because we had builders in, constructing this room for my sister. I decided to get rid of them, lest they and their 18 certificate should be found.

That and I went through cycles of getting rid of soft porn and then gaining it back again.

So I took them into school.

Yes, really. I'd vaguely mentioned them before in the common room, but according to a lot of people, my sex life wasn't that interesting (although Robinson and co. seemed to think it was). I turned up the following day with two Emmanuelle VHSs in my backpack, mostly to prove I did actually have them. Lightsinthesky, it turned out, already had Barely Legal 18, although I didn't know that until a few years later, when Louise relayed the news to me. In any case, I gave both tapes, almost immediately, to my token black friend.

He was incredibly grateful - or seemed so. I told him he could keep them; he did so. I didn't see them again until I bought them both on DVD when I got to university two years later. Granted, giving them away probably wasn't the best move... but still.

I never asked my token black friend if he'd watched them. They were never even mentioned again, never mind in detail. I wasn't expecting a blow-by-blow account of sex scenes, the plot or cinematography or actors. The best I can hope for, I reasoned, is that he would watch them, and enjoy them. I think it's a safe assumption that he did the first. But I still remain curious, it has to be said... and when I saw him pop up on Facebook today celebrating his sixth month in a row without alcohol, I had the fleeting urge to ask him about it.

Only I didn't. For now, I'll have to make do with a "like". I hope he notices the symbolism there.

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