It seems hard to believe that there was once a time when I didn’t know Amy who blogs as Coffee and Kink. I met her at Eroticon in March 2017 which she was attending as a nervous newbie. Just like other newbies over the years (me in 2014 as well) she took to it like a duck to water and found her place in our weird and wonderful blogging community. Amy it was who, just over a year ago, came up with the idea of a 12 hour smut writing marathon to raise money for worthy causes. Last year it was Rape Crisis UK and Backlash, for whom we raised £2,000.
Last year I rocked up at the South London home of EA Unadorned and The Other Livvy, overdressed on a hot day, frazzled after a difficult journey and, to be honest, unprepared. Well I had baked a cake (a disaster destined never to be eaten) and bought loads of booze to make cocktails but I hadn’t really given too much thought to what I was going to write and post. My contribution was a little bit off the cuff although the conversation did inspire one piece, after Amy outed me on Twitter as a serial haver of sex in Skodas in public places. I am sure you will agree that car sex was well worth writing about. By the evening, however, I had a splitting headache and was running out of steam long before the midnight closer of the blogging marathon.
Nonetheless we had fun, and lots of stimulating conversation. And there were some surreal moments. We sat out in the garden for an hour or so in the evening and had a barbecue. Just 100 yards in a red brick church the Saturday evening service was long and loud. As we talked about well, the sort of things we talk about and ate grilled halloumi and sausage, the air was filled with songs of the salvation we might possibly be missing out on.
This year 8 of us are heading up to the North West where we have a house for the weekend and, oh joy of joys, an outdoor hot tub. I am going to bake a cake (properly) and Nadiya’s (she of Bake Off fame) yummy orange blossom and polenta cake may well feature. Most importantly I have a plan for my writing and it is, as you might imagine, a cunning one. I can now reveal it exclusively.
The 24thMay 1968 was a significant day and not just because students in Paris were on the verge of bringing De Gaulle down. Back in London The Small Faces, one of the most innovative and original of all English bands of the 60s, released their masterpiece and, I guess, swansong, Ogden’s’ Nut Gone Flake, featuring on Side Two the tale of Happiness Stan, the songs interwoven with gobbledegook by Professor Stanley Unwin. Sadly the album proved totally unsuited to live performance and by the end of the year the band had split. Three of them carried on, with the addition of Ronnie Wood, as The Faces and, as many if you will know, had a fruitful collaboration with Rod Stewart in the early 70s.
Only one of The Small Faces, drummer Kenny Jones, is still alive. Keyboardist Ian McLagan died a couple of years ago while it is over 20 years since the very premature deaths of Ronnie Lane, after a long battle with MS, and Steve Marriott who died in a fire at his home. But the bands, who are commemorated with a blue plaque on Carnaby Street, deserve to be remembered. They were hugely influential and their legacy will last. And anyone who says they were just a Cockney imitation of The Beatles can never be a friend of mine.
My plan is simple: 10 pieces of short fiction, each named after a track on the album. And who knows? May be there will be some gobbledegook in there too. I can’t wait to get started.
As you can imagine I am looking forward to the Smutathon weekend. Raising money is the main object I suppose but Smutathon had been positive in other ways. It has helped to bring the blogging community together. We are no longer people who just see each other once a year at Eroticon. We can, and do, meet up during the year as and when time and other commitments allow, to exchange, support each other in this baffling, baffled world where sex is everywhere yet, in the most important senses, nowhere and where we are misunderstood and stigmatised. And we enjoy each other’s company, drink together, share cigarettes, and, sorry, bore on about Brexit, or is that just me? In short we are a group of friends. Long may that remain so.