I'm a man of the world. I have, in my time, bought the odd dozen gentleman's leisure magazine. I like to think they made me the sane, balanced individual I am today, without ever having to find myself forced to earn a living writing letters to said periodicals starting with the line "You won't believe the amazing thing that happened to me when my sexy neighbour came round and asked to borrow my hedge clippers". I was just studying the writing style, and, of course, the varied and interesting photographic techniques in the accompanying illustrated pages. Just so you know.
However, this slice of woe came at a time when I was swearing off the jazz. You see - I was young, and I was in love. In love with the lovely soon-to-be Mrs Duck, and I wouldn't be needing that kind of filth ever again, because she would take this boy and turn him into a man. A man who would have no need to save up petrol tokens from Texaco to buy a cardboard briefcase to hide his smut. Oh no!
So, I was a good boy, then, saving hard for a mortgage on a nice flat in the average end of town, and going home to my mum every evening and thinking pious thoughts. I worked, at the time, at the head office of a nation chain of tyre fitters that rhymes with "Motor Gay", who did nothing to upset me, and just let me get on with it as long as the invoices and financial reports went out on time. My only vice, apart from a lunchtime egg-sausage-bacon-chips at the excellent Rafina Coffee Bar in town, was that of popping into the well-stocked newsagents round the corner for something to read on the train home.
And what a newsagents. It was floor-to-ceiling with publications, of a diversity that Mr WH Smith could only envy. I wasn't, however, interested in the bulging top two shelves, because, like I said, I'd sworn off that kind of thing, and I was only interested in the Melody Maker, Record Mirror or any of a number of magazine for owners of musical instruments who thought - wrongly - they could play a bit. In the words of the colossus Stephen Fry: I'm not only tone deaf, I'm tone dumb too.
I remember that evening only too clearly. I had put the mainframe to bed rather later than I would have wanted, what with one of the data tapes spooling all over the floor, much to the amusement of my excellent Rastafari boss, who saw it as an important test of character. Locking the office after me - even the cleaners had gone home - I legged it round the corner to Mr Siddiqi's and grabbed a copy of the newly-arrived Sound on Sound magazine, slammed my money on the cash desk and sprinted to the station, where I knew I might *just* catch the 1812 train to Twyford.
And make the train I did, out of breath and clutching my prize to my chest.
It was only as the packed commuter service pulled out and clacked over the points that I realised that I had not picked up my usual music mag ("The World's best-selling music recording magazine"), but a publication called Milk Maids ("I'm full and squirting for YOU"), ninety-six glossy pages in praise of large-chested and lactating young ladies in various erotic, milky poses.
Well, dip me in dogshit.
Standing room only, I couldn't even change carriages to escape the pitiful stares of my fellow commuters. The guy opposite raised his eyebrows in a suggestive manner, and I took this as a hint to turn the magazine the other way round, out of the withering gaze of a number of people who I was, until then, on nodding terms with. So I did: "Splash! Milkmaids on VHS - £30" screamed a rather graphic advertisement featuring fountains of milk, naked flesh and leather in equal quantities.
I, too, was utterly disgusted. Thirty quid? That's robbery.