I have a reputation for writing a lot of songs about sex. It isn’t strictly true, but you know, shit sticks. I try to avoid the streamlined, plastic and interstellar sex that permeates modern pop songs. I prefer an awkward, absurd sex that rarely finds itself in Britney Spears videos.
I like to use language that is uncommon in songs. I like to sing the word ‘fuck’. I don’t do it to shock; I think that would be impossible. It’s just that these are things we talk about everyday. They have become frequent territory for literature and television so why not songs?
Ambiguity and sweeping statements hold no appeal to me. I like to pepper my songs with objects and places. I use people’s names both real and fictional. It occurred to me that few people had attempted to write a song about porn and that it would be interesting to imagine a narrative based around a real porn star.
As a man I have, of course, in weaker moments, succumbed to the Internet’s primary use. I thought there would be something amusing about using a porn star’s name that men would possibly recognise and women might assume was made up. The women in this industry have a strange type of fame, they are known to millions but remain covert, hidden.
Crissy Moran is not that different from any other porn star in the way she drifted from topless modelling into hardcore sex scenes. My only reason for basing a song on her was a certain dislocation in her eyes. She looked like she wanted to be somewhere else. Who wouldn’t? In every other way she was your normal pneumatic, glossy sex doll. She just looked so distracted.
The song had a serious intent. I was trying to write about something very sad and specific, a moment of tragic ennui amongst all the chaos of ugly, fake lovemaking. Porn is desperate and tragic in many ways and this idea of erotic displacement is something I’ve explored before and since in song. Nonetheless the song; ‘Crissy M’, was hidden away on an EP on a small label, I wasn’t that brave.
About a year later, a moderator of a forum attached to my website told me that a ‘Crissy Moran’ had registered. I brushed it aside but soon Crissy emailed me herself. The world has certainly been turned upside down when porn stars start Googling you. She said my song had made her cry but that she identified with it strongly. She told me that I was right to sing that “her heart wasn’t in it” and that she had abandoned ‘hardcore’ and now only did ‘girl on girl’. Oddly, she attached a picture of herself. Perhaps she thought I didn’t know what she looked like?
I felt that I had done her a great disservice. Despite the fact that she seemed enamoured with the song, I felt I had just found a novel way to violate someone who had too often been disrespected. I said sorry and she was fine with it all, but the relationship didn’t last. Not with the distance involved.
Soon after, Crissy left the porn industry altogether and became a born again Christian. She is now something of a poster child for the Christian anti-porn movement. She often posts heartfelt blogs and she does seem happier, if not a little raw and fragile. She describes the porn industry as hurtful and manipulative. As an atheist, however, I can’t help but feel she’s won the booby prize.
When journalists write about Crissy they often come across my song and ask for an interview. There isn’t much I can say; I didn’t base the song so much on a person as a moment, an imagined feeling. I was also asked for the song to be used in a film about ex-porn stars but I declined. I decided it better to shut the door on this episode.
I think that music can often be sexy but rarely about sex itself. I have a big pile of CDs for ‘that’ mood, but I rarely find sex being sung about in the way that it is often written and talked about. Perhaps it is just too inelegant and brutal when you pull the airbrushed layers away.