Following bountiful Christmas fare, and with emotions loosened by the Malbec, we plopped onto the sofa and cried our way through Mama Mia, Here We Go Again on DVD and Call the Midwife on the Beeb. Others, meanwhile, took to Google in search of something altogether less wholesome and more carnal. I do hope those dropping into pansyland looking for ‘pussy lovers’, ‘pussy galore’, ‘sticky knickers’ and ‘sex emporium’ weren’t too deflated to read about cats, Bond girls, a heat-wave and two old poofs on holiday.
Anyone growing up in Seventies Britain will remember that the word ‘poof’ was the insult of choice for red-blooded males in their crotch-hugging loon pants, polyester tank tops, bouffant hairdos and BO. The abuse was often accompanied by a teapot impersonation. Oh, how I laughed. These days the word seems quaintly old-fashioned and has been (almost) consigned to history along with flock wallpaper, velour three-piece suites, fondue sets, beige teasmades with corn motifs and the curly perm.
I’ve often wondered about the origin of the word. A quick Google reveals a variety of explanations from a suitably camp French headdress to some fanciful tale about the sound of a fart; neither of which rings true to me. Now I think I’ve cracked it. Liam and I were watching ‘The Secrets of the Castle,’ a BBC show about the construction of a medieval fortress employing the building techniques of the day (I know, I know, we ought to get out more). One of the many absorbing details uncovered by the experimental archaeology was the old grading of sandstone into hard (pith), medium (path) and soft (poof). There you have it. Shirt lifters have always been considered a bit soft, never quite man enough to make the grade, butch-wise. Not that this was the case with Billy Moss, a prison officer I once dallied with in the Nineties. One warm summer’s evening we were enjoying a pint outside the Colherne Pub in West London, the grand-daddy of gay bars back in the day. As we supped, a delivery van passed by, stopping at a red light. The tattooed driver shouted over something rather unpleasant. Billy handed me his pint, swaggered over, squared up to the driver and said,
‘Come on then, mate. You want some? And after you can tell yer wife you got beaten up by a big poof.’
While I don’t condone the threat of violence, I must confess that the look of fear on the white van man’s face was a real treat as he hit the gas to make a quick getaway. I wonder where Billy is now?
A cursory glance at my stats shows that Perking the Pansies pops up on the internet in totally unexpected ways. My irreverent ramblings seem to attract the lost, the lustful, the inquisitive and the ignorant – and from the four corners of the world. These are a few of my favourite search terms:
- Pussy lovers (for feline aficionados, obviously)
- Gran Canarian Sex (for a bit of bump and grind in the sun)
- Rent Boys (believe me, my street-walking days are over)
- Hardon All Day (hit it with a stick)
- Is Marti Pellow/Gary Lineker/Kate Adie gay (they seem happy enough to me)
- Gumbet Love Rats (for the ladies who never learn)
- The Turkish Living Forum (keeping my 2012 rant right up there in the rankings)
And then came:
- Doreen Dowdall
Now that one completely threw me. Dowdall was my old girl’s name before her soldier boy popped his ring on her finger. Who was the mysterious surfer? I don’t know, but if s/he ever surfs back, do drop me a line and put me out of my curiosity. And yes, that is me in the picture (the one in shorts, not the fabulous Sixties frock). Bless.
P.S. It’s Doreen Dowdall’s 85th birthday tomorrow. Apart from being a bit mutton with a touch of arthritis and a dodgy hip, the old girl’s in fine fettle. I just hope I’ve inherited her genes.
Perking the Pansies recovered from a difficult birth at the murderous hands of the Turkish censors, thrived through the terrible twos and survived the transitional threes, ending the year with 60,000 hits for the last twelve months. Thank you to everyone and anyone who’s passed by and glanced at my random witterings. Most blogs burn out after two years so I must be living on borrowed time.
As the sun sets on 2013, in the best Hogmanay tradition, I give you the year’s top ten – a pick ‘n’mix treat of bum cleavage, Turks at the barricades, a shot in the arm, a tender coming out story, a sexy rugger bugger, a book to send you to sleep, an old-time boozer, an olive tree planted in a foreign field and a scratched itch.
It was the picture wot won it.
A revolution in the making?
Saying it before someone said it for him.
Who said ice-prancing rugger buggers can’t read?
With thanks to the nice people at WordPress who featured me on one of their big hitting sites.
Keeping me out the workhouse.
A Chelsea classic and old watering hole of mine.
A small corner of Turkey that is forever John.
A soppy tale from Liam.
And we all know who did in the end, don’t we?
For some inexplicable reason, this was the most popular image of 2013, featured in Let’s Hear it for the Brides.
And I shouldn’t forget the perennial favourites from previous years that keep coming back again and again like a bad case of thrush.
Proving that ‘sex’ really is the most searched for word on Google.
A humble little post about a spectacular discovery in eastern Turkey that just keeps on giving while the archaeologists keep on digging – 8,000 hits and climbing. Who would have thought?
Oft quoted and oft plagiarised (and not always with a credit, tut tut)
The few spoiling it for the many. A real shame.
And what of 2014? All I know is that Turkey Street, Jack and Liam move to Bodrum will be out early in the year. Will it be as successful as the first one? Who knows? Not me. Whatever happens, come rain or shine, a happy and prosperous year to all my pansy fans. Thank you for staying the course and for your remarkable support. I’m touched but then, I have been for years.
Readers of Perking the Pansies tell me that I’ve laid down some vintage posts in my time. They very kindly don’t mention the dross. Search engines and their secret algorithms have also been generous and thankfully, the blog is up there in the rankings. Still, it was a surprise when I received an out-of-the-blue comment from Rhona who stumbled across a guest post from August 2011 called Turks and Tampons. Rhona was having a periodic Turkish crisis and wrote:
Jack, I thought you might be amused by the fact that I found your blog via this post. I was on my first trip to Turkey (Gulluk) with my daughters when without going into detail we found ourselves in need of tampons…..problem! I googled ‘tampons in Turkey’ and there you were lol. But there also was this: tamponcrafts. Enjoy!
I certainly did enjoy a deep trawl through the wonder that is Tampon Crafts – a thousand and one things to do with Lil-Lets. Who knew that Tampax Pearls was so versatile? As Christmas is coming up, I’ve got Liam knocking up a nativity scene for the mantle piece. The Baby Jesus has never looked so absorbent.