2011: George
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I didn’t really know how to react to this. My first response was shock, and a strange sort of revulsion at seeing someone I know having sex. It wasn’t because it was gay sex, but before that I’d only seen people I know having sex, well, when I was involved.
After the shock I was curious, and tried to find out as much as I could about his new persona. There were no videos I could find but quite a few stills on blogposts – George dressed as a racing driver; George with a spiked collar around his neck; George being penetrated. The comments below these posts made me feel a bit sick. These were people lusting over my friend who they’d never met, praising his willingness and the fact he was young enough to have acne. He was nominated for an award when he was 18.
Then I started wondering. I’ve watched pornography, but never really thought too hard about the people involved. Now I had a slight, decade-old connection to someone in it, though, it was different. I wanted to know his route into the ‘industry’. I wanted to know whether he’d meant to or it had sort of happened by accident. I wanted to know whether he enjoyed it – partly the sex, and partly the whole career. I wanted to know whether his mum knows, and what she thinks about it.
Another part of me thinks I’m overthinking this. Porn’s never really bothered me before – why should it now just because I’ve a tenuous link to a... to a what? An artist? A performer? A victim? It’s a particular niggle that last I saw him he was seeing a psychologist. But am I just patronising him by wondering about that? Am I assuming he, or any other person in porn, can’t make their own choices? He wasn’t stupid at school, and although we’ve clearly taken very different paths, who am I to judge his route from such an external viewpoint?
I’d love to be able to ask George these questions, and plenty more. I’d also just like to say hello to someone I used to spend a lot of time with. But most of all I want to know what turned that quiet, shy, nice boy who smiled at me on the first day of school into a “young skinhead top” with a new name who is paid to have sex in front of cameras for other faceless, nameless people to watch.
George, June 2011 Vhcle Magazine Issue 6, Life
I still remember when I first saw George. It was my first day at secondary school and I, with the rest of what was to be 7G, was led nervously into the gym where we were to meet our new classmates. There was a space on the bench next to a boy with light brown skin and slightly slanted eyes – he gave me a little smile, and I sat down next to him.
Over the next few weeks, George and I became good friends. Because we were in the same form we shared a lot of classes, and we sat next to each other at registration. He was a bit quiet but so was I, and we were happy just to talk to each other. I went to his house and met his mum and sister, and he came to mine and met my parents. We were awkward, shy, and both rubbish at sport – I had glasses to look after; he didn’t like the mud. We were best friends.
I don’t really remember what happened in the couple of years after that. There was no flashpoint I can think of, no huge argument or event, but we didn’t see as much of each other. Most likely, as happens with lots of friendships at that age, we drifted apart, started hanging out with other people.
I still saw George occasionally though – we shared an English class for all five years – and we’d say hello to each other. The last time I saw him was in college, when I was 16 or 17. He’d changed his name to Zak for reasons no-one seemed to know, and told me he was seeing a psychologist.
After that I didn’t think of George for several years until recently, when he came up in conversation with another schoolfriend who told me George was gay. There had been rumours while we were at school but no-one really knew, or cared more than they cared about anything that made someone a bit different. My friend also told me he’d changed his name again, and suggested I search for it. So I did.
My best friend in year 7 is now a hardcore gay pornstar.
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Jamie Thunder graduated from Cardiff in English Language, and is now studying Investigative Journalism at City University, London. From October he'll be doing a PhD in funding models for investigative journalism, which is definitely almost as exciting as it sounds.
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This article can be found on p23 in Issue 6 of Vhcle Magazine.