Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Category: Personal (Page 1 of 10)

ILB’s personal posts

The Great and Glorious Jizz Rush of February 2024

Back in June 2021, just after I was diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy, one of the gaggle of NHS neurologists casually said something like, “oh, and you can’t have children.” I responded with, “that’s okay, I don’t want children,” and we left it at that. About a year later I realised that this meant that I was infertile. A few months ago I further realised that there’s a test for this, and that it involves permissible wanking.

And so about a month ago I finally asked my GP if I could take a fertility test…

[Excuse ILB; he just spilt tea down himself. Back just after he cleans up. There we go.]

…shortly before assuring her that he would have absolutely no problems providing a semen sample. She didn’t ask or anything; I just felt it necessary.

What I didn’t realise, of course, is that this would all be timed.

It’s the ultimate danger wank. You have to book a timeslot and then deliver a fresh semen sample in or around that exact time. You also have to produce said sample (“through masturbation”, the leaflet says, so I had to do so medically TAKE THAT ESTABLISHMENT) no more than 50 minutes before delivering it to your friendly neighbourhood pathologist. Essentially you have to do Mario Kart, except the kart is an Über and the blue shell is a sterile pot full of jizz.

What they didn’t put in the leaflet, of course, is how you manage to ejaculate into the pot if you have a penis with a nice upward curve like mine does. When I’m erect my penis is seven inches long with an upward curve like one half of a parabola (providing the vertex is my crotch). It’s easy to hold, feels good in the hand, makes it easy to stimulate a G-spot inside a vagina and (I’ve been told) looks, feels and tastes good.

It’s also got foreskin, which is something to fiddle with in bed.

Now that you’re all trying to imagine what my penis looks like, let’s get back to my original point: how do I ejaculate into a cup unless the cup itself has magical suction to avoid all the spaff falling out, suddenly have the unerring aim to develop a semen jump getting it all in there, or detach my dick and put it back on upside down? In the end, I had to cheat a bit: made sure to shoot once into it, and then came all over my hand and let that fill up the rest.

I mean, I’m sure there was enough. You’re not meant to come for two days beforehand; I took a week.

Billy Whizz from The Beano. Art by Vic Neill.
Me, in the hospital.

I chanced a look at the clock. 9:15 and my appointment was at ten. I ordered an Über with one hand while pulling up my pants with the other, secured my trousers, jumped into a pair of shoes without putting on any socks and Billy Whizzed it to the pick-up point. The driver was very kind and didn’t ask what I was cradling under my jumper and T-shirt (you are meant to keep it at body temperature, otherwise the sperm all die). Pathology, of course, is at the other end of my local hospital from the main entrance, so I barely touched the ground as I carried my precious cargo through the maze of confused patients and amused healthcare staff.

I got there with five minutes to spare. The nurse who took my semen sample was completely unfazed, almost as if people bully wank themselves into a cup and deliver it to her every day.

“You’ll get the results in about a week; call your GP and ask,” she said amiably, “but if you want help with conception…?”
“No, I’m fine, really,” I said through the residual post-orgasmic fog. “I’m just going to… go… now…”
“Sure. Thanks for being early.”
“You too,” I said, not yet aware that that made absolutely no sense.

And now I wait to find out something that I already know.

I’ve had more satisfying orgasms.

2023 #orgasmcount [aka: “M04R (0D3S¡”]

Okay, well, it’s been a hell of a year. Not that it’s all been hell, of course – some positive things have happened too. I’ve met some amazing people and done some exciting things, although I have yet to relax (which was my resolution last year). Some things just never quite go fully realised. Welcome to 2024; time to do my orgasm count.

Every year seems to be conspiring to plant a little more doubt in the integrity of the sex blogging community. Stu has a video about it which voices a lot of my concerns with a little more clarity than I ever could. This year, nevertheless, did include the return of Eroticon in June, and I also recently joined a couple of Patreon, both of which served to remind me what the community could be.

One thing which I think should have impacted the community (but I’m not sure if it has) is that one of our longest-serving members, Vix the Over-Educated Nympho, died on June 27. Vix was one of my favourite bloggers back in the early days, and in fact I have her book in my “to read” pile, which will now be a bittersweet experience. Thank you for everything, Vix.

I was meant to be talking about orgasms here though, right? Okay. As usual, I recorded my orgasms in my little paper diary from WHSmith, using special codes which shouldn’t be obvious to anyone reading it, but probably would be. It’s just that nobody else reads my diary.


The Orgasm Count!

– 98. This is the number of orgasms I’ve had this year. That’s 26.8% of the days in the year on which I’ve had one. Is that low? It seems low.

x2 – 24/6. This was the one day this year when I had more than one orgasm. I used to do that a lot. Tragically, more often than not I just don’t have the time. Spirit is willing but flesh is weak, or something.

? – 8/2. This was a very confusing orgasm – I remember it. I certainly came, but halfway through, it just… sort of… stopped. I think I may have had half an orgasm. Yes, that’s a thing.

Boing! – 11/4; 2/11; 22/11; 21/12; 28/12. Holy jumping semen, Batman! This is probably more to do with angle than anything else, but these are the orgasms when my jizz appears to be practising the Fosbury flop. Always makes me giggle, even if it does mean that I have to clean the floor as well as my hand.

And a few special codes which I added this year…

R! – 6/3; 10/3; 12/3; 19/3; 6/4; 7/5; 20/5; 25/5. R! is a special code which I’m keeping to myself.

Leana! – 13/3; 22/5; 11/9. These are the orgasms I had while watching something featuring porn starlet Leana Lovings. Why make a record of Leana? Well, as you’ll have clocked unless you have never read this blog before, nearly all my orgasms are to my own imagination, or text, or softcore porn. I’m particularly fond of Leana, though, and all the videos I have of her are hardcore. That’s so unusual for me that it’s definitely worth a mention.

Lucy! – 20/10. This is a unique one. I had this orgasm to a text post written by someone I don’t know (Lucy), sent to me by someone I do (swallow). I then told swallow, who told Lucy, who apparently was very excited her words made a sex writer come. This tickled me, so I made a note.

Sneaky. – 4/7. This is an orgasm I had with my wife awake in the next room. Of course, I don’t mind wanking with my wife, but with them unknowing and this being after hours when I should really have been in bed, there was a little frisson of danger there.

and finally…

Hella satisfying. – 19/6. This was the most satisfying orgasm I had this year. It was also, coincidentally, the first I had since well before ‘con. (I never seem to have any orgasms around ‘con; I’m always too busy around that time and don’t really have a sex partner to spend the nights with.) This one was good, though – and it was my 47th! 47, eh? I like the sound of that.

Something I’ve noticed while doing this is that, unlike in my twenties when I was fairly regular, my orgasms this year have been fairly sporadic. There have been some weeks in which I’ve had a few wholesome, healthy ones, and yet there have been some strugglebus bully wanks, and occasional long periods of time in which I haven’t had any at all.

As a result of DM, I’ve been coming home after work more to sleep than anything else and (even if afternoon naps do make me horny!) this does tend to machete down the time I have to myself. Glod forbid I ever do stop having orgasms; they are my favourite form of escape. However, they are noticeably becoming more of a thing I can have if I manage to be good with time management and energy conservation.

But then maybe that makes them even more of a treat…

It Getter

As a teenager, I was convinced that I had the innate gift or being able to tell if a romantically involved couple had what I originally termed “it”. Now, in my late thirties, I’m fairly confident in saying I don’t and did not exactly have a definition of what “it” was – just that I could identify it. Case in point: the Floof and her boyfriend had “it” and they got back together about a week after breaking up because God told them to do so.

They’re now married, so I was 100% correct. Of course I was. I was also becoming something of an expert, I told myself, in telling if somebody fancied somebody else. I knew the signs and I knew how to respond. It was never going to happen to me – naturally – but I was absolutely certain that I was born a relationship expert and would be able to use my limerence virtuosity to help any and all others.

Because it wasn’t going to happen to me.

Seven years later…

I’d just been to an audition with my hot single friend who I kissed on stage. Neither of us were particularly keen on the play or knew who the playwright was, but an audition’s an audition, and the rationale was that if we’d played lovers before, we could do so again.

“I don’t know about you,” she said as we made our way through the very dark streets of suburban North London, “but I’m not sure that play is very realistic about relationships. I mean, he’s with her for his whole life, but he’s not happy about it.”
“It happens.”
“I know, but it wouldn’t to people who know better. I mean, not to me. I’ve had a few… well, they’re not really relationships but they’re…”

There was a pause in which we looked at each other and both realised what she meant.

“…I mean, they’re with people who aren’t my age and I’m 27 and that makes things…”

Another pause.

“How old are you?”
“I’m 22,” I answered truthfully. “It’s my birthday next month. When we did The Cherry Orchard I was 21. I turned 22 just before the first dress.”
“That’s the sort of guy I’d go for, really, someone who’s 22. Maybe an actor with messy dark hair. Someone tall and funny, you know? Someone who’s got ‘it’?”
“Ah, well, I hope you find one!” I said cheerily.

Relationship expert right here.

Two months later…

I’d just been to an audition with my hot single friend who I kissed on stage. Our director chose a play which could, in no way at all, be done on the shoestring budget our company has. We all liked it, but I knew in my head that it couldn’t be done. I would have wanted to play the dinosaur, however, had we gone for it.

“I don’t know about you,” she said as we made our way through the very dark streets of suburban North London, “but I’m not sure Monty’s giving us anything to read for that doesn’t end up with us being cast as lovers.”
“It worked in The Cherry Orchard,” I pointed out as we got onto the night bus.
“I know, and it’s good we got to kiss. Maybe we’ve got…”
“Yes. I don’t know, maybe they’ll accelerate and the next show will have us having sex live on stage or something!”
“Well, wouldn’t that be something?” I marvelled.

Last month I finally hit upon the fact that I should have come out with something like

Well, I’d be down for doing that, but of course I’d want to rehearse a fair few times with you first. Just to make sure we get the dialogue right.

something I didn’t say

but instead I came out with

Well, wouldn’t that be something?

something I actually did say

which didn’t quite have the same gravitas.

Neither of us got cast in either play; we didn’t go to the reading for The Comedy of Errors the following week. I ended up being in the first one anyway, but only went to rehearsal twice due to the fact that I had two lines.

We later got recruited into another company. During our performance of The Marriage of Figaro, we held hands while waiting on the bench. We sat together in the dressing room during the interminably long Plautus “realisation” our director Gareth put on. We hugged, we kissed. H, the stalwart, came to every show. I got hugs from her too.

My friend suggested we met for drinks again soon. I said that would be nice. I sill don’t know what “drinks” meant.

One year later…

I was completely blind to the beautiful woman who was laughing at my terrible jokes while I served her at Waterstone’s. I also didn’t really do anything about the pretty blonde who kept following me around during the entire Danish youth camp. One particularly randy friend told me that we were flirting and had “it”, but I didn’t know what “it” was.

My ‘phone pinged when I was just finishing off some shopping in town. It was her, inviting me to her thirtieth birthday party. I said I’d go, but in the end couldn’t. This time, I suggested we met for drinks.

We didn’t. We sent each other playful, suggestive messages on Facebook. I asked her outright once on MSN what it was like to have sex on one’s period. She gave an answer and then said it would be fun for me to find out.

“Yes, it’d be interesting!” I said.

Ladies and gentlemen, your relationship expert.

These are a few of my favourite things…

I like to think that, in many ways, I am a fairly certain ILB. Not staid or unadventurous, entirely… but I know what I like and I prefer to stick with it. There are no nasty surprises if you choose the path with nothing to fear.

I know what I like. My favourite food is the cheese toastie; my favourite drink, cloudy lemonade. My favourite book is Lord of the Flies; film, it’s Spirited Away; television series, Knightmare. Still, my favourite band is James; comedian, Dave Gorman; actor, probably still my dad. I even have a favourite teacher, back from when I was still at school.

Sexually, I would probably say the same. I know what I like. My favourite genre of porn is softcore. My favourite sexual act is cunnilingus; position, missionary. I’m attracted to female-identified people and enbies, but men do very little for me. My favourite place to have sex is in a hotel room; time, at some point after nine. My favourite place to masturbate is in my computer chair; scene, this one. I even have a favourite hardcore actress, Leana Lovings, even though I’m not a big fan of hardcore.

ILB's nose and mouth, with a moustache that makes him look like a '70s porn star, and a superfluous soul patch.
Ron Jeremy ILB’s Terrible Mistake

I like my glasses and my hands and, to a certain extent, my UNUSUALLY LARGE PENIS. I don’t like the ‘mo, or soul patch, that I’ve grown for Movember, but I’ll post them here anyway.

Yes, I know what I like, and I’d like to think that, as a result, I am not easily swayed by peer pressure. Or influenced by what I’ve seen around me. Specifically, if I’ve read something that has had an impact on me, I don’t think I’d be moved too far from the fairly established person that I am today.

So why did I have a dream last night in which I attended a sex party, talked my way in for free, picked up a random blonde, went into a private room and ended up sleeping with her play partner while David Gandy stood at the side giving tips?


I mean, I know what I like, but as for my brain?

On that I’m not certain.

The Cloud

Yesterday afternoon a new mattress arrived at my flat. It took my parents and I about three hours to find bed linen that would fit it, but eventually everything seemed fine. New mattress. That’s nice.

This may not seem like a particularly exciting thing to happen, but then you also have to take into account the fact that, since we moved here, we have been attempting to sleep on a mattress roughly the consistency of a pile of bricks. I got it without considering the fact that we both, in fact, like to sleep on a soft surface, and that this would be the start of five years of pain.

The new mattress advertised sleeping on it as being akin to sleeping on a cloud. When I actually tried it in the shop, I nearly fell asleep right there, which may say more about me than it does about the product. While, as it turns out, it’s not actually that soft, it is incredibly comfortable.

I’d forgotten what that feels like.

The first time I got a new mattress, of course, it was for a different reason. I had a new girlfriend and she was coming to stay for two weeks. I rather uncryptically asked my parents for a new mattress and I got this response:

A new mattress is practically a necessity for any young buck engaged in serious courting.

ilb’s dad

This time, however, it was for sleep.

Not that I did much of that, because I was far too horny.

Before you ask, no, I don’t know why I got horny, and I don’t think it was the mattress itself (although it may have magical powers; that’s still to be confirmed), but I definitely was. In and out of resting, but not asleep yet, every time I shifted my body I noticed, with something between alarm and delight, just how hard I was. It’s rare that I’ve had such big erections, or that lasted that long.

It was only after about two hours of lying there that I realised how painful this was getting and that I needed to deal with it if I was ever going to get anything resembling sleep, but then I was also very much enjoying being horny beyond anything in recent memory.

I know, I thought, I’ll get up, walk to the bathroom, use the toilet and then come back. After that, I rationalised, it didn’t matter how horny I got, because I had the rest of the night to lie there on my nice new mattress.

My mattress gave a self-satisfied sigh as I rolled off it. Up, padded to the bathroom. Toilet. Turned around and padded back. Back into bed, mattress giggling as I sank gently into it. Very soft, very comfortable.

Okay, now where was I?

And then I suddenly realised I wasn’t horny any more.

I hate my body.

Moustache Man

“So there’s your bag,” said my dad, hitching it usefully over my shoulder. “And your stick’s in the back of the car. Are those new shoes?”
“New shoes? No,” I replied, truthfully. “I’ve had these for a few months.”

My mother bustled over to check if I was still alive, or something.

“One more thing,” she added, doing a very good impression or someone who has just had an afterthought. In actuality, she had been wanting to ask this for a while, but had never quite managed it. (I think she must have been mustering a fair amount of courage to do so.) “Have you ever had… this before?”

What? New shoes, even though they aren’t new? The cardigan she didn’t know I had, despite having bought it for me? I was genuinely surprised she hadn’t asked about my coat.

“Like, this? A moustache without any beard? Have you ever had this before?”

I have, in fact, had this before, and I do so practically every year.

“Yes. I do so every November.”
“You’re doing Movember this year?”
“I do Movember every year…?”
“It’s a strong look,” said my dad.

He says this a lot, usually about hairstyles I don’t like. He’s been trying to get me to grow a full moustache and beard and get my head shaved for a few years now. He says it’s a strong look. I don’t particularly want to look strong.

“You should keep it,” said my mother. “It’s a good look for you.”
“No it isn’t,” I answered (also truthfully; it looks ridiculous). “I look like a ’70s porn star.”

Both parents laughed at this, which – considering the amount of time they spend trying to pretend porn doesn’t exist – was both gratifying and surprising. Feeling that I couldn’t quite top that, I turned to leave, before my mother stopped me in the hall.

“One more thing,” she added (again).

No, I haven’t considered how to make porn when your rapidly degenerating body is making it difficult to do something as simple as put on a coat. And the stick, that’d get in the way.

“Yes?” I ventured, trepidatiously.

“Are those new shoes?”

[citation needed]

I posted this on Twitter, Mastodon and Bluesky the other day:

Hi, I’m your lazy blogger who doesn’t write a damn thing. 👋

I’ve been all over the place. I want to write, but I’ve got a terrible weight in the pit of the stomach and the thought of sex is making me feel sightly sick.

(Realistically, everyone else appears to be having quite a lot of sex, and since I’m not having any, I’m feeling a little left out too…!)

Please excuse my sightly reduced presence while I try to sort my head out.

While the bare bones of what I’m feeling are very much there, I feel like I need to spin this out a little more. I don’t quite understand exactly how I feel, but the best I can do is this:

(i) I’m not actually lazy. Recently I have taken on a lot of responsibilities at work, not all of which were voluntary. I’m coming home incredibly tired and often want to take a nap, if not immediately upon my return, within a couple of hours at least. While I may be lethargic, you couldn’t really call me ‘lazy’.

(ii) In previous situations, blogging was my escape after a hard work day (or, earlier, a hard week at university, or while jobseeking, or… etc.). I could be having a difficult time but with the knowledge that I can go home and write openly and unashamedly about sex being a sort of beacon I could carry in my heart, it didn’t seem so bad.

(iii) However, being unable to blog due to the aforementioned fatigue in point (i) above (plus other extenuating factors) is resulting in the “terrible weight in the pit of the stomach” to which I referred on social media. Whereas I often think of my blog as a boon, for the past few weeks I’ve been seeing it as more of a burden. I’m not good at this.

(iv) Whereas over the past week I have masturbated twice, and had an orgasm each time, in many cases the thought of being sexual with anyone, myself included, has made me feel slightly sick. I’ve been enjoying my own sexuality like I usually do, but again, it makes me feel slightly off – like I shouldn’t be doing this (I haven’t felt that way since I was 18!) – and it’s making me start to doubt myself.

(v) The mention in the post about “everyone else appears to be having quite a lot of sex” refers to specifically what I see on the blogs and all over social media. Yes, this is due to the people I follow – I am aware of this; it is, however, also becoming more of an issue to me. People I know and like enjoying active, varied and satisfying sex lives was always something I liked to see… now, however, I’m starting to feel like I’m not worthy to even know.

(vi) Not having sex hasn’t bothered me so far (well, it has, but not to any noticeable degree), but comparing this to what’s happening to “everyone else” (and yes, I know it isn’t everyone, but look above at point (v) makes me sort of… lonely? Left out? Envious? I’m not sure how to categorise it. Whatever it is, it certainly contributes to the aforementioned “terrible weight in the pit of the stomach“, which manifests when I see that stuff on social media.

(vii) I genuinely don’t have much to write about. Yes, I ran a session about this at Eroticon. Yes, it is also relatively effective to open a blank post and start writing at random (that’s how this post started). But I still don’t think it’s working. I sat on the bus on the way home today and tried to think of blog post ideas and didn’t even come up with a single one.

I think the real reason behind all this is twofold: one, a bitch is tired; two, a bitch is frustrated. I have very little creative impetus/outlet and no real consistent sexual one. Even my porn habits are starting to grate – I’m starting to spool at random, whereas I used to have a few cued up in my head to go through.

I’m not entirely without hope – as I say in the above post, I’m expecting my head to sort itself out. Give me a few days without any responsibilities and the grace to not feel the huge amount of crushing guilt for not doing anything for my readers and I might start to feel better about it all. I’ve even had a bit of a relief today at work and things are already starting to feel a bit lighter.

It won’t always be easy to find either. And it may take days, weeks, years even…

…but I really want to make it happen.


“They’re not bad as beds go,” said Toby, “but they’re not fantastic. I suppose they are resilient enough.”
“I find that they’re quite a good bed for having sex on,” I said to general amazement.

In reality, though, I was stretching the truth a little.

I wasn’t lying. I had had sex on the bed in my tiny room in university hall. Admittedly, I was probably the person in my flat who had done so the least, considering the girl at the end with the steady boyfriend, the one who everyone fancied in room 5, or the guy in room 2 who brought home a different girl every night. But I’d still done it… once.

Looking back on it now, it may well have been the last time I had sex with her. Our relationship ended a few weeks later, and for the times we met before that, her interest in sex (or at least in sex with me) appeared to have waned. But this time on my university bed was different. She most definitely wanted to have sex with me.

And we did. Ten minutes after getting into my room. Clothes covering what little floor space there was available, door firmly locked to avoid any unwelcome visitors, the single duvet pushed to one side, and her on her back, legs wrapped around my hips as I worked them like a piston. Uninhibited by the constraints of having to not wake up parents, or for fear of ruining another mattress. We could do what we liked, how much we liked, and make as much noise as we liked.

She cried out as her orgasm rumbled through her body. I collapsed on top of her and we lay there for a while, my rock-hard penis buried deep within her, no longer moving but listening to each other breathing. Her breasts were pressed against my chest, covered in sweat. That much I remember.

“That was wonderful,” she murmured as I pulled out of her. “It’s been too long.”
“Too long,” I agreed.
“But you didn’t come, though, did you?”
“I didn’t,” I admitted. “But I don’t need to for us to enjoy sex. You came.”
“I did. But if you need to come, the door is always open. I mean, my legs. My legs are always open.”

So, you see, I did have sex on that bed and it did work. Incredibly well, in fact, given the circumstances. But she never did visit me again on campus, and therefore I never had any more sex on that bed. I had sex, a few times, in Africa later on, but that wasn’t really on the bed.

It did kickstart a several-year dry spell, but hey ho…

No, seriously, it’s a genuinely ad-free blog

Dear [Company / Website / Representative],

Ad-Free Blog button. Art by Keri Smith.
It’s literally on my sidebar.

Thank you for [reaching out / e-mailing / e-mailing again / all your e-mails]. I have read your communication [with interest], and [considered your proposal / understand your request].

I am aware of [your product / website / service / production], and I notice that you have also contacted some other sex bloggers on the subject, including my friends [blogger 1] and [blogger 2].

As per [our previous correspondence / my about page], I’m sorry to [continue to] inform you that I do not do commercial activities on my site, including:
– sponsored posts
– affiliate links
– hosting guest posts
– writing posts on my blog for money

There is a button on my sidebar reading “ad-free blog”, which should give you some idea of my non-commercial ethos. [Since you’re e-mailing me, you clearly haven’t read my blog, or you’d have noticed it.]

If you are genuinely [desperate to / interested in] work/ing with me, I will do the following:
sex toy or product reviews, honest ones, without pay
writing elsewhere, about something I genuinely know, for money
– talk to external publications

As you will know from my [blog / posts / about page (which you haven’t read)], I am not [kinky / in a D/s relationship / a swinger / polyamorous / LGBTQ+ / a well-versed BDSM practitioner / in porn], so I am [confused / amused / irritated] as to why you are contacting me to [write about / post your content about] the subject.

Seriously, though, thanks for thinking about me, [company name]. It’s possible you have sent me an e-mail on the off-chance that I have had a complete volte-face and started hosting all sorts of ads on my blog, which I have continuously said before I feel devalues the medium. It may be more worth your time to contact some other bloggers who don’t openly state that their blog[s] [is / are] ad-free.

However, since you used the CC: rather than BCC: field in your e-mail, I don’t need to guess. It’s clear who you’re contacting.

Yours, with a love that shines like a thousand splendid suns,
– ILB x

You’ll never shine if you don’t glow

Hey now, you’re an all star
Get your game on, go, play
Hey now, you’re a rock star
Get the show on, get paid
And all that glitters is gold
Only shooting stars break the mould

When I was 17 (a busy year for me by all accounts) I was given my first, and so far one of my only, chances to play one song alongside a band which, despite being composed entirely of GCSE Music students at my school, was beginning to develop something of a following. I’d learned the violin part by heart – to a degree that I was fairly confident I could play it backwards. Through circumstances I don’t want to go into here – although Obsession might tell you – I didn’t end up playing. I went home at the interval, had a drink and a snack, and only then did I realise that I could have:

a) stayed
b) played my part
c) actually motherfucking done the motherfucking thing I’d motherfucking gone to motherfucking do

I’d also had several people there tell me I was pretty, so I might have pulled too. I mean, if I was going to be a rock star…

The following week was fairly awful, and the fact that nobody was taking how I felt seriously didn’t help either. In my intense gloom, one of the very few things that gave me a bit of a lift was All Star. I was doubting then – and this is a doubt that I still feel practically every day – that I was exhibiting (or do so now) any particular amount of talent. I was a pretender who had convinced himself otherwise, whereas in reality I was a talent-free jobsworth who didn’t deserve nice things. All Star told me otherwise. I was a star.

Smash Mouth knew it, so I did too.

Smash Mouth performing in 2011. Photo by Ingelbert, CC BY-SA 3.0.
My spring and my sunshine all at once.

One might assume that that was the end of it, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. For the year or so preceding that event, I had become a Smash Mouth fan. The reality of being a moody, depressed teenager was slightly mollified by the fact that I had a fairly decent repository of Californian surf rock I bought on a whim from HMV.

All Star was just the tip of the iceberg. By the time their fourth album Get the Picture? came along, I was a diehard aficionado. I knew all the words to all the songs, I would play them at maximum volume when nobody else was around, and even though they wouldn’t quite beat James to my number one spot, for a long time my John, Paul, George and Ringo were Harwell, Camp, DeLisle and Urbano.

They even played a rôle in my relationships. I got the girl I had a crush on into them and we geeked out on our shared love of US punk. My first girlfriend also became a bit of a fan, and we went on a date to buy Get the Picture? together. I even had sex to them a couple of times, although mostly by accident.

For more than half of my life now, when I need them, Smash Mouth have been there for me. Whereas there are a myriad of artists and genres that I will flick through at random, listening to Smash Mouth is like a hug from a kindly uncle: comforting, warm and familiar.

Steve Harwell is a legend

Although he left the band a few years before his death, and his tenure with them in the year preceding that was a difficult one for all involved, Smash Mouth would never have worked without Steve. His unique, characteristic raspy voice may not have gelled with any other band, but with Smash Mouth it just fitted like a glove. Whether it was a song about the Italian mafia, being stuck in a traffic jam or smoking too much marijuana (all actual songs), Steve’s voice just worked. The songs were written with his voice in mind and it was clear, from first listen, that they were.

It’s one of my biggest regrets that I never, even though I was fully intending to at the time, wrote to Steve, telling him how much his music meant to me and reminding him that they had yet to do a UK tour (and they still haven’t, and probably never will). As recently as half an hour ago I realised how much storage space on my iPod is taken up by songs with Steve Harwell.

Or just how many of his songs the band I’m in (in my fantasies; it’s not a real band) play on a regular basis.

Or that the fictional girl who asked me out kept wanting to see him naked.

Steve Harwell is very special to me and he always will be. His death is a sad day for rock and a gut-punch to anyone who, like me, grew up with his band. I will miss him every day for the rest of my life.

Thank you, Steve.

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