A Life’s Work: The Fans’ Notes

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While working for a porn fan club, Jonny Trunk saved hundreds of letters that were sent to performers. Not content to keep these treasures to himself, he had the best ones performed on CD. The resulting album, Dirty Fan Male, is both hilarious and unsettling. An actor reads each hand-scrawled missive with great dramatic flourish. Content ranges from fairly standard fan appreciation to abstruse discussions of Jesus Christ and Hillary Clinton. Trunk (whose eponymous record label has released soundtracks to the ├╝ber-British cult films Psychomania and The Wicker Man) chatted recently about the state of Britporn, his own smut preferences and, of course, Dirty Fan Male, of which he declared more than once, “It’s mad, isn’t it? Absolutely mad.” — Sharon Lintz


So you collected a big bunch of porn fan letters.
Yeah, I’m a collector of things. I mean the letters are fantastic, completely brilliant. You know if you’re a collector, you know what you collect will eventually become useful one day.

Looks like these letters finally became useful to you.

Fan letter from Trunk’s collection
(click to enlarge)

Yeah. And this project was a bit of an accident, really. I showed one to my friend Wisbey, and he immediately started reading it out. He’s a brilliant actor. He and I went through and picked the letters we found most interesting. He did the whole CD one take, reading them in different voices: James Mason, Paul McCartney, Cary Grant. I can’t divulge Wisbey’s full name, however. He does want to get work after this.

Did you find any of the letters disturbing?
No, because these men are all indoors watching pornography. All the letters are from harmless people, really just sweet, humble, sex-starved, sex-mad men. I’d only be frightened if they came knocking on my door saying, “Why have you done this to my letter?” But I try not to think about that.

Do you have a favorite?
I think my favorite is the Elvis letter. It’s this guy who walks around as a kind of Elvis lookalike. He writes a letter about getting beaten up on the way to see this woman at a lap-dancing club, and having his sideburns shaved off by these thugs that have beaten him up, and then when he gets home someone’s nicked his rubber sex doll. It’s fantastic.

Fan letter from Trunk’s collection
(click to enlarge)

The letters behind Dirty Fan Male were originally sent to British porn stars and girlie-mag models. What’s the British porn industry like?
It’s gotten harder now, and a bit more unpleasant if you ask me. But originally, it was sort of what I call a “tits-and-bum” industry. It was very tame. You couldn’t see things like sexual intercourse or anything really rude. And then the laws changed about two years ago, and everything became unrestricted. Now you can buy proper hardcore pornography. So really, I suppose these recordings are a bit about the past of English porn, back when the industry was what I would call a “glamour” industry — the girls were very beautiful, and you never really saw anything more than their bums.

Right, I noticed there was a lot of talk about bum in these letters. “Bum-holes,” “bared bottoms,” “bare-bum cleavage” . . .
Yeah, bum is big in Britain.

And lots of talk about “willies.”
“Willie” is more like baby talk for cock. People don’t really use the word anymore, unless you’re eight. That’s why it’s so hilarious, in England also.

Are you a porn fan?
I prefer ’70s pornography, really. If you look at my website, there’s naked people all over the place, all from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. The pictures are really entertaining, the women are more beautiful. It’s more natural.

I take it you’re not into fake tits.
I think they’re hideous. Porn styling today is rubbish.

Do you have a favorite performer?
I’m quite interested in Mary Millington. She’s a bit of a superstar, or was at the time, in the ’70s. Classic English porn star.

Fan letter from Trunk’s collection
(click to enlarge)

You released a Mary Millington CD a few years ago.
Yeah. The recording I have of her is really mad. It’s her at home. She made a recording for her fans to buy on cassette, pre-video days. The first thing she says is, “Do you want to watch me piss?” But you can tell by the sound she’s standing there with a bucket of water, pouring it into a bath. It’s really rubbish. Totally English garbage. It’s hilarious.

What makes that so English?
It’s just a really bad con that I’m sure a lot of people believed. I think if it were done America, it would’ve been done properly, with someone actually on the toilet.

What’s your next release going to be?
You know what flexidiscs are? They’re those wobbly plastic records, they used to give them away free in books, stuff like that.

Like in Mad magazine.
That’s exactly it. They either came in Mad or occasional cereal packets. They also came in ’70s English porn magazines. I own a collection of those. They’re recordings, supposedly of the women in the photographs talking to you about their tits. Really awful. They’re trying to be sexy and failing miserably. It’s fantastic.

Seems like you specialize in releasing these sort of arcane British cultural artifacts.
Right. Dirty Fan Male is part of that. It all comes from the strange old part of British culture.

What did Dirty Fan Male teach you about sexuality?
If anything, I’ve learned everybody seems to have the same thoughts. They’re all classics, these letters. We all have the same ideas about sex, really. There’s nothing new in sex, nothing truly devious anymore. If you think about it, that’s why the sex industry’s been about the same old crap for thirty years.  

For more information about Dirty Fan Male, click here.

©2003 Sharon Lintz and