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The gangster inside the porn scribe…

01 Feb

When I first worked as a freelance writer for porn magazines, it felt like a rebellious and “gangsterish” thing to do. In college I got acquainted with movies starring Jimmy Cagney, John Garfield, Humphrey Bogart, and Edward G. Robinson, and there was a part of me that strongly identified with the criminal characters they played. I wasn’t a tough guy, but I wanted to feel like one. And so, after I’d get a nice big check from one of the higher-paying markets, I would go out and buy myself some new shirts or a spiffy suit, just like Cagney did as he worked his way up in the rackets in The Public Enemy.

Jimmy Cagney in his great era of the 1930s...

I wasn’t delusional–I knew I was just a smut scribe, but it was fun to pretend. On the other hand, being a porn writer in the 70s was a genuinely fringe kind of thing to do, and the feeling of being an outsider and somehow not “legit” was real. In those days of aggressive feminism, many women were poisoned against the idea that erotica could be a good or fun thing, and there were many times gals would stop talking to me at bars or parties once I told them that I wrote for adult magazines.

Unidentified player, Edward G. Robinson, and Jimmy again...

As a kid, I did pretty well in my studies–I was eighth in my high school graduating class out of about six hundred students–but there was always a part of me that wanted to be a “bad boy,” and so sometimes I’d do stuff that would get me thrown out of class or get negative deportment grades on my report cards. I’d sword-fight on top of the desks with yardsticks, and one time I loudly compared a grade school teacher to Hitler–undoubtedly the most odious comparison that could be made in the North Side Chicago Jewish neighborhood in which I grew up. I was familiar with standing detention in the school corridor cooling my heels, or paying a visit to a school psychologist where I learned I was exhibiting “asocial” behavior. It was this same kind of impulse that gave me a perverse joy in being a porn writer for trashy nude mags instead of submitting stories to respectable literary “periodicals.”

As Cagney said with a devilish gleam in his eye in Angels with Dirty Faces, “Whaddaya hear, whaddaya say?” I wanted to be like Cagney, that Yorkville wiseacre, except with a typewriter. (This was before computers, so I’m talking inky ribbons, and Wite-Out, and carbon paper so I’d have copies of my immortal works for my ever-growing personal archives.)

A movie that really influenced me was Borsalino, a 1970 French gangster film starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon. It was very stylish, and after I saw it (around 1975 at the now-shuttered Bleecker Street Cinema in Greenwich Village) I went out and bought myself a very natty double-breasted black wide-pinstripe suit, gray fedora and black topcoat, and actually walked around like that on the streets of New York. Oh yeah, and of course I wore it with a black shirt and white tie. I once picked up a pretty blonde on West 4th Street in the Village while strutting around in this movie gangster gear and we happily ended up in the sack. (This was rivaled perhaps only by the time I dressed up as a priest one Halloween, which got me laid too.)

Jean-Paul Belmondo on the left, Alain Delon on the right...

Delon's character was named Roch Siffredi. I've always wondered if the porn star Rocco Siffredi got his "nom de porn" from this movie.

But besides feeding my image of myself as a movie thug wannabe, writing porn also got me writing. A lot. I have been a very prolific bad boy. When I go to flea markets now, I have the satisfaction of seeing almost four decades of my stuff popping up here and there on the tables of dealers. The various works of Irv O. Neil…also known as Lester Bloom, Norbert Klinger, Mickey Briscoe, Dr. Hyman Goff and other various one-shot names lost to memory…are out there to be perused and, I hope, enjoyed by curious collectors and aficionados of the erotic, the outré, the outlandish, and the humorous. Stories like “Sex and the Single Werewolf,” “The Slut of Frankenstein,” “Feminist in Spiked Heels,” “The Mummy’s Cock,” and “The Spaceman Cometh,”  which all appeared under another of my erstwhile noms de porn, “Leo Berman,” in Eros magazine…issues of which can be found at Oldmags.com, where I got the cover images below.

The covergirl is Brit beauty Debbie Linden, who tragically died at 35 in 1997, wasted by drugs. When I started editing in 1981, I ran a beautiful pictorial of her in Game magazine. She was my favorite at the time.

There are many reasons why I work in porn, and one of them is that it’s been fun.

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2 Comments

Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Erotica

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “The gangster inside the porn scribe…

  1. John

    February 3, 2012 at 9:25 am

    That is a great story. I think it would be as fascinating as some other career
    s. It is appealing, and not just for obvious reason’s.

     
    • irvoneil

      February 3, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

       

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