Awake, feeling like I’ve been set on fire and put out by a Land Rover rolling across my body. Got back late last night from Norway after spending four days at the Royal Marines’ Arctic warfare school. When I was commissioned for the story, no-one at the office bothered to mention that Our Boys would be throwing me into frozen fjords or making me eat snow while commandos fired machine guns at me. Oh no, those little details got lost somewhere along the line. But that’s the Loaded philosophy. Other men’s magazines may report on what’s happening, but we actually get hurled right into the thick of it. Over the last couple of years I’ve streaked at a women’s football match, been blown up in a car, set on fire by stuntmen and starred as a circus knife-thrower’s assistant. I’m beginning to feel like a witch from the Middle Ages.
At The Worx Studio in Fulham. An easy day today, no white-hot ordnance being targeted at my head. I’m down here for the Loaded Love Motel shoot.
One of our most popular sections, Love Motel is where we take women chosen by our readers and photograph them in a mocked up hotel room. I’ve to interview two groups of three girls so I’m here most of the day getting an insight into female self-pleasuring and just why Spanish waiters are more attractive than guys from Burnley.
In Edinburgh to immerse myself in the Scottish hen night experience for my Sex Hunter column. The idea behind this monthly feature is that I get involved in all sorts of sexual adventures around the world. In my explorations, I’ve been to swingers’ campouts in the American Mid West, adult festivals in Berlin and been given electric shocks to my testicles by dominatrixes in a London dungeon.
It’s a difficult job, and has been at times a frightening glimpse into human sexuality but, as they say, someone’s gotta do it.
For tonight’s hen night, we’ve arranged to hang out with three different parties of hens on a converted Routemaster bus that ferries the ladies around Edinburgh’s pubs and clubs.
Climbing aboard the silver-painted double-decker about 8pm, the atmosphere among the 60 or so hens is subdued, but as soon as we get moving, the gloves come off. Working for Loaded, I shouldn’t really be shocked by the idea of a busload of people pissed out of their faces, but these women are something else. It’s not long before they’ve got it into their heads that I’m the stripper for the evening and nothing will persuade them otherwise. As more booze is drunk, it steadily gets more insane and I’m being propositioned from all sides.
I finally get to sleep around 5am – vowing that if ever I were to marry, hen nights would be banned.
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Land at Heathrow, stomach churning and feeling like I’ve been hit over the head with a sack of annoyed lobsters.
Last night went well, a lot better than expected. But one of the hazards of this job is the appalling hangovers.
Wandering round Terminal One trying to remember how to get back to south London, I can’t help wondering if we’ve put the kibosh on a couple of upcoming weddings. I vaguely recall being screamed at by one of the future mothers-in-law about how I was corrupting her son’s prospective wife and that we should be ashamed of ourselves.
Us ashamed? I was lucky to get off that bus without losing several vital body parts.
Finally my ventriloquist’s dummy arrives. I’ve bought it off US eBay and, though cheap, it’s taken about two months to get here. I was starting to wonder if it was crossing the Atlantic in a rowing boat. The dummy (called Simon, according to the note attached to its chest) is a prop for another Sex Hunter later this week. Even though it’s once an issue, I can find myself doing three Hunters in any given month. It all depends on what’s happening in the world and how the dates stack. This month is busy: as well as the hen night, I’m off to Las Vegas for the Worldwide Ventriloquist Convention. The brief in Vegas is like all good Loaded stories: simple and funny. I’ve got to try to pull girls using my dummy as a twisted alter ego and make sure Simon gets some doll action into the bargain. I spend the afternoon finalising the details for the trip and sitting on the sofa with Simon, making his acquaintance.
Dummy practice in south London.
In an effort to get myself used to communicating through Simon, I go shopping in Marks & Spencer with the little fella. Even after just one day’s mumbling through my teeth, I think I’m getting the skills. But there’s an awkward moment when the girl on the till asks if I want any cashback.
“Henty hounds hease,” I say through Simon. “Er, sorry?” she replies. “Henty hounds hease.” “Look,” says the assistant, locking eyes with me. “Wouldn’t it be easier if you did the talking?”
I have to write up my Royal Marines story, so it’s off up to IPC Media in Waterloo. Loaded has never been the most straightforward working environment and today is no different. A cocktail promotions company has set up shop in the office and is disrupting our usual hardworking ethos by forcefeeding us Mojitos. It’s not that we want to drink, it’s just that it’d be rude not to. I finally file the Marines copy around 8pm and head off down the pub, Simon in tow, to introduce him to the concept of “a pint”.