I recently went minimalist. Not in a thoughtfully considered, spiritually sound way, though. I went minimalist in the way Native Americans went vegan after we shot all their buffalo from passing trains.
And when I went minimalist, out went 15 years of AVN lanyards, DVDs of “The Facts of Life XXX,” copies of Hustler and Penthouse with my articles in them, sex toys I’d reviewed, and cascading mountains of business cards from adult convention after adult convention. 20 boxes of stuff that I couldn’t even give to a Margold-level packrat (and what kind of transaction would that be, anyway? Who would pay for the UHaul? How fast could I sanitize after that final handshake?). It’s not like my college would take my memorabilia for its Gram Ponante Library, Helipad, Solarium, and Energy Vortex.
I’d worked for this company called Gamelink off and on since 2006 and then, just as I was thinking that I couldn’t possibly make a living in porn any longer, they hired me full time. For a couple of days I thought, “This can be made into a real platform.” There was talk of Gamelink buying Fleshbot, there was talk of a magazine. It was very exciting. I’d come from a long line of adult magazines that just hadn’t hit the right chord, or that weren’t capitalized the way they should be (such as this site) and now, maybe we could have a funny, hip, smart porn magazine that catered to pervs and nerds alike and didn’t turn anyone away. Instead, none of that happened. One day I was assigned to write yet another Top Twenty Porn Stars of All Time list and I had to argue to put Jamie Gillis on there. Jynx Maze took his place. Now don’t get me wrong: everybody loves Jynx Maze, but anyone who took porn seriously as a historic and cultural force would be forgiven for asking, “What the hell is a Jynx Maze?”
After Gamelink laid me off I was about to leave again. Instead, for a whole year, I was the uncredited editor of Penthouse. Much of that magazine was written in Australia, poorly, and I spent my days weeding extraneous “U”s out of frothing aspirational lifestyle articles while the editor on the masthead got his pre-bankruptcy checks paid on time. It was not a good few years for me, readers.
In January of 2017 a man named Bill Margold died. He had been the porn world’s unofficial historian. In a business that forgets fast, focusing on the next person celebrating her 18th birthday, the Porno-American community needed such a historian. Unfortunately, Margold was a narcissist and a buffoon. The only people I ever met who liked him were very generous souls. Every time Margold opened his mouth, I found myself saying “shuttup shuttup shuttup shuttup, Bill.” I briefly considered attending his memorial service. My girlfriend said, “So I take it you’re not doing the eulogy?”
I thought, “This world doesn’t interest me anymore.”
And yet, almost two years later, I find about a half-terabyte of images from 15 years of adventures in the porn world and, as I look through them, I remember stories about that day. About the time I slipped on Lauren Phoenix’s asswater. About the day a Cyberskin mold of April Flores’ ass and vulva permanently stained my leather couch, and I had to explain why to some Jehovah’s Witnesses. About the porn star who fell asleep during her own gangbang for about three guys and then woke up and carried on for the next 20. What a trooper! Oh, and how a select few of us knew all about Charlie Sheen and Donald Trump years before any of that transactional stuff kinda mattered.
So I started posting things here and there on Instagram, and now I have a loyal following of bots who would do anything for me. Until that one day I found this picture of Alexis Grace, above, and suffered my first stern warning and removal.
It was January of 2014 and I hadn’t been to a porn set in what was, for me, a long time. I’d been working at Gamelink which was about as far removed from the things I enjoyed writing about as it could be (yet they paid my health insurance and no longer bounced checks). I had not met Alexis Grace before but she was lovely and charming and kinda blowsy, like a Graham Greene bartender on Brighton Rock. Her expression in this picture is reminiscent of the way I felt at the time: I’m enjoying myself, but maybe they’re not paying me enough. Maybe this isn’t the best use of my time. Maybe I’ll regret this later.
And Ms. Grace also reminded me of the way James Thurber drew women.
The movie was “Big Wet Tits 13” and it was directed by, I believe, Tori Black’s husband. I’d place a link to it but I have snorted coke with too many affiliate managers to ever expect that I’d see any cash from it.
As I look around the ruins of my site, with its broken links to websites that no longer exist, with its “First in a Series” titles that never reached their second (Remo Williams cannot be taken seriously enough as a cautionary tale), with its abandoned podcast, its hopes, its potential, its clinging to something that is gone, and with its sputtering slinking off into the horizon, all I can say is, “I’m back?”