Thursday, 16 July 2009

The Boy Who Sold Dirty Pictures

1973 - In this digital-age the pornography industry arrogantly flashes huge, swollen breasts at us from every angle to entice us. However, back in 1973 in Nettlefield Primary School in east Belfast, the porn’ industry was somewhat different.

A boy in my class operated a distribution service of what we all knew as “dirty pictures”. These were cut out pictures of ladies modeling underwear from his mother's clothing catalogues. The boy would bring his collection sordid pictures into school to sell them in the playground during break and lunch times. He traded not in hard cash but in sweets and toys. The racket ran as a true barter system;
Each day the nine year old king of pornography would stand in a corner of the playground with a crowd of other boys around him ogling at various pictures of very conservative middle-aged women standing in girdles, braziers, pants, stockings and suspenders. Like a market stall trader the boy would barter with the other kids over the pictures;

Customer: "I'll give you two Black Jacks and three Midget Gems for that picture."
Porn’ Trader: "No way! Two Black Jacks and six Midget Gems!"
Customer (after deep thought): "Alright, two Black Jacks and six Midget Gems… but you're one robbin' shite!"
Porn’ Trader : (smugly) "Business is business my friend…”

...and off I went with my picture, drooling all over it, and off went the boy who sold dirty pictures with his pockets stuffed with sweets and trinkets of all kind - a true entrepreneur who knew at the age of nine years old, where the market for making a successful business lay.

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