Boy Meets SCOT-PEP

 

It was all my ex-wife’s fault.

Don’t the trashiest of pulp fictions always start something like that? In my case, sadly, it is all true.

August 1994. Off she toddles, into the night, leaving me to feed the dishwasher and empty the kids. Her mission, at that stage, was to go along to see a couple of comics in the Festival.

Those “couple of comics” were Scott Cappurro and Rhona Cameron, who were doing a benefit called “Whoresteria”, in aid of some fluffy, right-on “women’s group”, called SCOT-PEP. 

Fast forward to next morning.

“I have good news and bad news for you.”

“Oh aye... the good news?”

“I got you a new client last night.”

“Uhhuuuuuhhhh.... and the bad?”

“They’re a charity, and can’t afford to pay you.”

So far, so okay.

I think it took her the rest of the day to tell me what SCOT-PEP actually did...

Picture the scene. A middle-class nice boy, accountant to trade, resident of suburbia... who had no previous knowledge of the sex industry other than what he had learned from Band of Gold and The Sunday Mail.

“They’re f*cking what?”

*

It seems like another world now, but I actually had moral reservations about joining up. I am almost embarassed to say that, but in some ways it does reflect reality. For most of society, the sex industry is something that exists “somewhere else”, and in any one of a number of sterotypes.

*

Torphichen Street, a few weeks later. Pat welcomes me in, introduces me to a few people....”and this is Ruth”, she says, pointing to an empty desk.

Ruth is under the desk. Hiding.

Not for the last time, the weight of some of the f**kwits in the world has caused Ruth to seek refuge in the only place that will have her. It was an image that will stay with me for ever.

For the next three years, I rocked up to Board meetings, said my bit about the numbers, and then sat back in the corner. My mouth was probably permanently open as I listened to stories about SCOT-PEP and what we actually did, things that were so much out of my world. But I was beginning to learn.

*

My first SCOT-PEP party, Christmas 1994.

Drink was taken. Games were played. Anne Summers products were exhibited.

And then some of said AS products were modelled. By the guys.

Including me. Well, it was my first SCOT-PEP party, I didn’t want to appear anti-social.

I wore this lovely little top. Back to front, apparently. 

Photos were taken. Photos were kept. Photos are still “somewhere”... to be used, allegedly, in the event of anyone in said photos attempting to leave SCOT-PEP.

So, there you have it. I was SCOT-PEP’s first trafficking victim.