The list always consisted of 3 pairs of grey knee-length socks (wool, of course, which were itchy) and 3 white shirts, 2 pairs of gray shorts (for the young boys) and a red tie and black slip on shoes. And a wool coat for the winter term, and a school blazer for the summer. Of course the list got longer as the child got older, and included football boots and other bits of sports equipment - tennis racquets, swimming trunks and goggles. There were a lot of people squashed into the small area of the elevator, and Justin and I were standing right against the back wall. Complete quiet reigned supreme as we ascended and then...
“Mummy,” Justin’s high-pitched baby voice rang out clearly, whilst the silence of the situation hung over our heads in an obvious manner.
“Yes darling,” I replied patiently. I noticed people were starting to smile at the sweetness of his young tone.
And then it happened.
“Mummy, does everyone have nipples?”
There was a sort of communal gasp and then a giggle, whilst they waited for my response to this universal question.
I took it on the chin and without a beat said, “Yes darling. Everyone has nipples.”
There were more suppressed giggles.
We went up another floor and I thought that was the end of the matter but then...
“Mummy, does the lady with the hat have nipples?”
“Yes darling, even the lady with the hat has nipples.” I noticed the lady in question started to look uncomfortable as we pushed past her trying to make our exit.
Many years later, when I think Justin was about 10, we were standing in a local food store whilst I tried to decide between frozen peas or beans to go with dinner that evening.
I could tell this was going to be a serious question. “Yes darling.”
“Mum, what does fellatio mean?”
I looked up from the peas stunned for a moment, and Justin seemed truly puzzled, and a bit concerned. Where on earth had he learned this new word, I wondered. Without missing a beat, I said, “What do YOU think it means?”
“Um... I think it’s to do with body parts touching.”
“Absolutely right,” I said. “So shall we have peas or beans?”
And I didn’t think much more about any of this until many years later, when I was asked to write some answers to questions from the Huffington Post about my son, the pornographer. At this stage he had been interviewed by CNN about his views on pornography. When Justin left university, he was qualified to do nothing much. His degree was in television, film and drama, and I was convinced he would be an actor. He was good at acting, as far as I knew, and had a rather charming way about him, which is always useful at auditions even if you don’t book the gig.
He quickly landed a job with a small privately owned company, which organised fabulous events for fabulous people with lots of money, and not much sense. The owner of the company was a young man who fitted into the above category very nicely. He’d been funded by his parents and was reluctant to take advice from anyone. The events were extremely rarified, and of course shortly after Justin joined he found his job to be rather wobbly. He had however been loaned a very cool gray scooter for zipping about town on during his working hours, and when the job disappeared he did a deal prior to leaving and kept the scooter.
His next job was somewhat more secure but not nearly so much fun. It involved traveling round the UK meeting the deans of various universities and persuading them to buy space to advertise their schools and what they had to offer. Justin’s father gave him some money to buy an old car and although I begged him to have it checked out thoroughly before purchasing it, apparently from some little old lady, he ignored my advice of course, and within six months the car was only good for the scrap heap. I refrained from saying “I told you so.”
Around this time my husband, Stewart, was starting to become ill, and my days were spent trying to make him as comfortable as possible, although this was an almost impossible task. He was a proud man, and for him to lose his balance and have a fall on a public street, and for several people to rush over to help him was really less than he could bear.
“Of course I’m alright. Just tripped a bit, that’s all,” and he would even refuse to take a seat offered on a bus or subway. I found it very frustrating, but there was nothing to be done. One lunchtime we had agreed to meet at a certain restaurant, and he was always early. I arrived on time and he wasn’t there, which was most unusual. I sat at a table and waited with a bad feeling hanging over me. After 15 minutes an EMS driver came in and shouted, “Anyone here called Brown?”
I stood up quickly. “Yes, what’s happened?”
“I’ve got your old man on the van. Want to come with us to the hospital? He fell and hit his head on the sidewalk, and some good Samaritan called 911.”
Of course, to Stewart, it was all a fuss and nonsense, and he was fine. The hospital kept him until 5am the next morning, and carried out various head scans and tests before letting him come home with me.
Justin decided that selling advertising space was not a long-term prospect that interested him, and promptly left his job. And, in some ways, it was a very good move. London’s television Channel 5 was advertising for 6 young people - 3 boys and 3 girls - to make up two teams who would be coached on how to make a porno movie. None of the team members could have previously been involved with the porn industry in any way. Each team would be given a budget of £10,000 and the process of making the film would be aired on the Playboy Channel. At the end of six weeks the two films would be adjudicated by Playboy, and the winning team members would each receive a check for £1,000.
A friend of Justin’s had submitted his name as a joke, and Justin was asked to attend an audition. I recall him telling me that he had to direct a very sexy scene which involved a young couple wearing only raincoats, which of course were to be removed at some stage. Justin created the scene, booked the gig and was asked to be on the boys’ team. Six weeks later his team won the contest, and Playboy asked Justin if he would direct some films for them, which he did.
Recently I asked Justin if he ever got bored directing, writing and producing porn movies—he’s made 28 films so far.
“What is it you think I do, Mum?”
“Well, I suppose you write some of the scripts?”
“No. I have people who do that.”
“Well, I expect you direct some of the movies?”
“No. I have people who do that.”
“Um...” I hesitated. “Well I suppose you’re on the set?”
“Only one or two days for each film.”
“Well what the fuck do you do?” I snapped.
“I sell the films, Mum. Someone has to sell the films.”
So it seems he’s back in his old job then, I thought to myself.
Would you work in the porn industry? Why/Why not?