With all this flesh bared after a long, dreary winter, I find my own skin tingles. My body comes alive. I'm sitting on a café patio, watching people. I'm also trying to write, but a lean, wiry young man sipping coffee nearby has caught my eye.
I know him from somewhere. He has curly brown hair that bounces away from his head, and impossibly long black eyelashes that frame sweet chocolate-coloured eyes. He's wearing a grey T-shirt and girly hip-hugging jeans. His knees are drawn up and resting against the vinyl table in front of him. He's smiling at something in the book he's reading, some secret I'm not privy to.
I imagine him naked. He's having sex in front of a sparkling blue swimming pool -- pumping in and out to the rhythm of disco music. Smiling that delicious smile.
Suddenly, I realize I've chosen the wrong career. Forget novels. He's the one, I think to myself. Finally I've found the perfect star for my indie skin flick. I was born to make porn!
Not the strung-out commercial, ugly stuff. There will be no bottle-blond Barbies in my movies. Cunts will not be petal-pink and dry. No plastic-surgery-enhanced breasts or liposuction-trimmed thighs.
I'm talking about artistic, intelligent work featuring stars who look like my friends, luscious full-figured women and guys like the one sitting two tables away -- real people, with different body shapes, skin tones and accents. Sexy people who like to screw around and aren't afraid to experiment.
My film's main character would be a riot grrrl wearing a red miniskirt and a faded pink Bikini Kill T-shirt. And she'd get it on with the coffee-shop guy and a skinny, scruffy anarchist in a hoodie and then a delicious femme dyke wearing combat boots and maybe even a hot, muscular, sweaty soccer player still sporting his team uniform.
The action would start off outside, near said swimming pool, in a sunny, lush, paradisiacal garden where anything's possible. Then, before our heroine gets sun-stroke, she'd move inside, where the neighbours definitely can't see what she's up to, to continue in her messy black bedroom, with zines lying on the floor and a pink vibrator on the table next to the bed.
Sex is part of life, just like eating and breathing and shitting and gabbing on the telephone. We all do it. When we respect our desires and indulge our senses (heh -- within limits, can't stop doing all that other "stuff" that constitutes daily life), we learn to love ourselves and better understand our humanity and the way our bodies work. So why is it that unlike its literary cousin, the zine, indie porn doesn't register on our radar?
To be honest, it didn't register on mine until I met an indie pornographer, Dave Findlay, aka Wonderdread, while we were postering Kensington Market with utopic and dystopic images of the neighbourhood a few years ago, as part of the group we called the Science Friction Action Heroes.
His films include My Favourite Flavour (1992), a short romp in a public bathroom with two men and a popsicle, shot on black-and-white Super 8 film to evoke police surveillance tapes.
His work in progress is called The Honey Shot, and it's a thoroughly perverse and sticky polysexual exploration of the sentence "Honey, my voice is all scratchy from coming screaming..." It's due for completion in early August, but he's had to discard and reshoot some scenes as relationships with performers changed: "I'd like everybody involved in a project (myself included) to feel unambiguous joy upon seeing themselves and each other in a finished video."
The perils of indie porn go beyond making sure all the actors are comfortable with their roles. "The industry side of porn is still jammed between censorship and capitalism," says Wonderdread. "Only the few folks who are positioned to distribute porn actually gain, and they have little incentive to push the creative envelope around process or content."
So indie porn really does exist beyond the frou-frou artsy erotica seen at repertory cinemas and film nights. But if there's no chance of making a living off it, why do it? Wonderdread muses, "I make porn 'cause I want to see my own reality and fantasies reflected, and nobody else is going to do that the way I can. Making porn (and seeing the smut I've made over time) teaches me which of my own desires and fantasies I'm remaining most attached to, and how my own sexual vocabulary develops in interaction with experience." David Findlay is running a Grow Yer Own Porn workshop on August 10, 11, 17 and 18 at Good For Her (www.goodforher.com).