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Many thanks to Shane Agnew and Paul Evans for their help building this article. Without their help, there would be more than missing information; some of the sections would not have existed at all.
At some point, every Guy N Smith collector discovers the fact that the Great Scribbler wrote porn. A lot of it. No, he didn't start out writing porn, as some sites have suggested; he was first published in a local weekly newspaper called The Tettenhall Observer at the age of twelve, for whom he racked up over fifty short stories before he turned eighteen. However, a decade and a half later, he churned out stories and reams of readers letters for top shelf magazines like Sexpert, In Depth or New Direction.
He also wrote a set of porn 'novels', which can't have been very substantial because they were digests that ran a mere 60 pages with photos. Guy admits to seven of these, all published in 1975 by Tabor without his name on them. One is anonymous and the other six all carry pseudonyms.
To me, these are the hardest (pun not intended) titles to track down. For all that Werewolf by Moonlight or The Ghoul are supposedly rare, I've found copies of each on market stalls. The last two of his novels for Hamlyn, The Pluto Pact and The Lurkers, are tricky little buggers but I've found those too without having to pay a dealer. I have multiple copies of some of the translations published in Germany, which are supposed to be notably obscure, and I even have autographed handwritten manuscripts of unpublished novels. How frickin' rare can you get?
Yet I've never managed to find a copy of any of his porn novels, though there are a couple for sale online at prices I can't pay at the moment. The only time I've even seen copies was in a bound set on Guy's shelves, when visiting the Black Hill.
In fact, it took me until the age of the internet to even locate covers for these things. Of the seven acknowledged titles, I've now managed to find decent quality images for all but two, which Shane Agnew kindly supplied so that I could include them on this site.
So these are tantalising treats that have so far eluded me. And, in chatting with Shane online and scanning some stuff for him, I discovered something rather intriguing. All the bibliographies online say that there are seven of these out there, though those bibliographies were all sourced from mine at smithland.co.uk, which I compiled in collaboration with Guy himself back in the last century. So they're all really quoting Guy who said he wrote seven of them.
However, his old Literary Record Book lists that he sold eight:
These are the titles Guy has claimed (listed alphabetically):
However, these are the titles listed in his record book (listed as they appear):
Clearly Tabor changed titles on a number of these, but it's relatively easy to see how they match up:
So, what's Confessions of a Sex-Writer?
Confessions of a Sex-Writer
It's likely to be a 'novel' like the other seven, based on the amount Guy was paid for it. These eight titles earned him between £250 and £350, while nothing else for Tabor earned him more than £100, which was a 10,000 word stack of readers letters. The 'stories', which ran for 3,000 words or so, tended to earn in the £60 to £70 bracket, like the example above.
By the way, I have a hand-written manuscript of this particular story, 'We formed our own wife-swapping club' and it ran for 3,300 words.
The images that Shane had sent me showed that some of the titles were numbered. I searched around online and found a bunch of them on Amazon.co.uk (mostly unavailable, of course), so I collated them together to look for commonality and see if I could figure out the numbering.
Once I found the titles, Sexy Confessions of a Magazine Writer leapt out. Could this be an eighth porn title of Guy's?
Paul Evans, collector supreme, who owns many of these books, says that he has asked Guy about this particular title. 'Guy has seen my own copy,' he said, 'and denies ownership.'
Now there are many writers who deny authorship of books that they actually wrote. Often that's porn, because many who start out that way, churning out words for no reason other than money, tend to look back after successful careers writing 'real books' and cringe. However, Guy's always been honest about his more dubious work and there's no reason to believe that he would claim seven but deny an eighth.
There are other scenarios that make sense though.
One is that Guy's memory has merely let him down. After all, he he wrote so much of this stuff in such a short time, most of which runs over almost exactly the same ground (there's only so much variation you can include when you're writing porn). Also, that was forty years ago. When I look back at what I wrote only twenty years ago, I don't even recognise some of it because there was no important associated memory to stamp it into my brain.
This is especially believable to me because, while these have traditionally been listed as 'novels', they're really not of sufficient length to warrant that name. A novel is generally regarded as a work of fiction over 40,000 words, with other names kicking in at lower lengths. These 'novels' are much more likely to be mere novelettes (which run between 7,500 and 17,500 words) or, at the most, short novellas (from 17,500 to 40,000).
Another possibility is that he wrote the book and sold it to Tabor, who then didn't publish it. While it's an easy leap to associate Confessions of a Sex-Writer with Confessions of a Magazine Writer, especially given both the context and timing, it's still a leap. It may be that the published book was written by someone else and Guy's was never published, perhaps because it was too similar.
Of course, in this scenario is correct, it should be floating around in manuscript form as Guy didn't keep this stuff. I'm pretty sure that it's not in my collection, much of which was bought in a couple of large lots, but I wasn't looking at material this short with the thinking that it could be a 'novel'. I really do need to finish a full, detailed, catalogue of what I have here!
Just looking through a couple of boxes today highlighted four sets of inserts for Pop Performer like this one:
It could even be an error in Guy's record-keeping, but he was rather meticulous and I don't buy that in the slighest. If he recorded that he wrote it and sold it, I'm willing to believe that he wrote it and sold it.
The Odd Two Out
Excluding this mystery title, the first two in Guy's ledger look different from all the others.
The first was published as Sexy Confessions of a Bank Clerk, under the pseudonym of Peter Lynch. It cost 65p in 1975 and carries a banner reading, 'Experience's Bedtime Novel for Adults'. Experience was another of the top-shelf magazines Guy wrote for.
The second was published as the clumsily titled Sex Secrets of Swinging Wives Part 1 - The Partner Swappers, the only title without an author's name. It also cost 65p and is an 'Experience Bedtime Novel'. It also mentions that it's 'Vol. 1 No. 2', but I'm presuming that's in a Sexy Secrets series as there's a different 'Vol. 1 No. 2' in the Sexy Confessions series, one that looks a lot more at home with the others.
I'm assuming that these two were the first of Guy's porn novels published and that happened before the Sexy Confessions series was conjured up. Exploration by Shane has confirmed that for Sexy Confessions of a Bank Clerk; see the Dating the Books section below.
As you can see here, the Sexy Confessions series shared a whole bunch of design elements. They all had bright single colour covers, used the same font for their titles and had the same sort of image appaering inside a box with rounded corners, itself inside another box with square corners. They look little like the other two.
I tracked down eight of the nine numbered titles in this series and two that don't carry numbers. Thanks to Paul Evans for identifying Vol. 1 No. 7 and to Shane Agnew for providing a cover image of it!
Here are the first three titles. Only one of these is Guy's: Sexy Confessions of a Window Cleaner, which equates to the fourth sale in his ledger.
Here are titles four to six. The latter two are both Guy's work: Sexy Confessions of a Secretary and Sexy Confessions of a Games Mistress, the sixth and seventh sales in his ledger. Confessions of a Sex-Writer was the second and the only other one from the first batch of four (the second batch of four were listed on a later page, suggesting they were written and sold later), so, chronologically speaking, it fits well for being Sexy Confessions of a Magazine Writer, the fourth in the series.
I couldn't locate any details online for Vol. 1 No. 7, but Paul identified it as Sexy Confessions of a Traffic Warden and Shane provided a cover image, so here are the last three in the nine. Thanks, folks! Vol. 1 No. 8 is Guy's: Sexy Confessions of a Relief Nurse, but the others aren't.
It's worth noting that the ninth book, Sexy Confessions of a Shop Assistant cost 75p, suggesting either that it was a bigger volume or, more likely, the price had simply gone up at this point.
There are two other titles in the series, the first of which is Guy's and the second of which isn't. Neither appear to have numbers on them.
Shane has confirmed that Pop Performer was published as a bonus issue in September, so presumably Chambermaid followed the rest.
Dating the Books
Shane was also kind enough to provide some photos from these books, without which this section couldn't exist. Many thanks, Shane! The first is from inside a book, while the middle is from a back cover. The third is from inside Confessions of a Bank Clerk; note how it pretends that all the writers would be women!
So, at least Vol 1. No. 3 to Vol 1. No.9 were published monthly, presumably from June to December of 1975. It may be fair to guess that the first two were therefore April and May. The back cover of Sexy Confessions of a Pop Performer is an advert for the next month's Sexy Confessions of a Traffic Warden, so it was presumably a bonus issue in September.
And, however the other two fit, Confessions of a Bank Clerk was the first of them. As there's mention in it of the Diary of Sex 1975 being an ideal Christmas present, surely it dates to late 1974 and is therefore Guy's second published 'novel' after Werewolf by Moonlight in September.
The question is how many others fit into the gap before The Sucking Pit in May 1975. Sexy Confessions of a Window Cleaner is likely to have been published in April, but how about The Partner Swappers?
It's worth mentioning that Sexy Confessions of a Pop Performer, which was published in 1975, had nothing to do with the more mainstream Confessions of a Pop Performer, published in, well, 1975 as well!
The latter was part of the high profile Confessions series written by James Bond screenwriter Christopher Wood (The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker) under the pseudonym of Timothy Lea. I remember these being easily found on market stalls everywhere in the eighties, because the print runs were so substantial.
It's almost guaranteed that Tabor was mimicking the titles of these successful books because both series began with Confessions of a Window Cleaner; Tabor's was merely prefaced with Sexy and arrived four years later.
However, Lea's Confessions of a Pop Performer was only so named by Futura to tie in to the movie adaptation of a book that was originally called Confessions from the Pop Scene, so, in this instance, Tabor was presumably aping the current movie title as the most likely to be remembered and so persuade people to buy something less mainstream by mistake.
There's also a further connection between the two series that's worthy of mention. When Wood shifted from Sphere to Futura, the former hired Laurence James to write more Confessions novels; he did so under the pseudonym of Jonathan May, starting in 1974. Guy would use both Alan Myatt and Adrian Wood in 1975, suggesting that they shared a joke in the double entendres of pseudonyms, especially given that they new each other well. Laurence James would even go on to fictionalise Guy in some of his horror novels.
Just for reference, because they don't show up on most searches, here are those Amazon.co.uk links:
Time Machine Needed
One last note. If anyone has a time machine, maybe they could go back in time and buy eight boxes (goldinyoung.com) of Sexy Confessions of a Magazine Writer at auction for £10. That's ten measly quid!
Now, who was it?
Last update: 4th June, 2019