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Saturday 16 December 2017

Louis's world weary weekend

Louis Theroux: Twilight of the Porn Stars (Sun, BBC2) Match of the Day (sun, bbc2).

IT'S been 15 years since Louis Theroux met JJ Michaels for his series Weird Weekends.

Back then, JJ was, as Louis put it, pun fully intended, I'm sure, "an up and coming young star" in porn movies, blithely unconcerned about the health risks of having unprotected sex.

JJ's not in the business anymore. He works in IT in Missouri now, but he still keeps a stash of his old DVDs, most of which have titles not fit for repeating in a respectable newspaper, to remind him of the good times.

And they truly were good times, at least from a porn merchant's commercial point of view. The rise of DVD had opened up a whole new revenue stream.

Fifteen years on and the stream has run dry, as the dominance of the internet has made the concept of paid-for porn practically obsolete.

JJ, who doesn't seem to have aged a day (he even sports the same hairstyle), was wise to get out while the going was good, but as Louis found out in Twilight of the Porn Stars, the lure of making a quick buck from having a quick something-that-rhymes-with-buck remains, even if the promise of big money is largely illusory these days.

"You look like you're flirting with each other," he told a charming young couple called Tony and Stephania, who were taking a shower together shortly after meeting, and then having sex on camera, for the first time. "I feel you two are clicking a little bit. Would you think about maybe going on a date?"

You couldn't help but feel sorry for the two of them. A few years down the road -- assuming the lifestyle doesn't get them first -- they'll probably have turned into Xander and Alexis, a seasoned couple we saw going mechanically through the motions at the beginning of the programme.

"Less porno!" shouted their director, Brett, who's making what pass for high-end porn movies for a label called Wicked and tends to be a bit fussy about how his leading ladies moan their dialogue.

Brett, though, was positively saintly compared to the loathsome Rob Black.

When Louis met Black in the first film, he was making "extreme" movies, which earned him a prison stretch on obscenity charges. He's upgraded to porn parodies of blockbusters like Iron Man.

"It's jerk-off stuff," he told Louis.

"It's all jerk-off stuff, though, isn't it?" Louis shot back. Affronted, or as affronted as a sleazebag can be, Black started addressing Louis as "Mr Thorax".

It's not just porn that's changed in 15 years. Louis is different, too. The studied sarcasm he exhibited in clips from the earlier film has been replaced by world-weariness.

It's a trait he shares with the saddest and most sympathetic figure in the film, the preposterously named Tommy Gunn, who has made over 1,000 porn films yet craves the same, simple things the rest of us do: love and companionship.

"Would all these girls be f***ing me if they weren't getting paid?" he asked Louis.

It was a question that didn't need an answer.

According to an RTE poll on Friday's Euro 2012 programme, 94pc of people thought we'd get out of the group.

In another poll on last night's show, 87pc thought we'd beat Croatia. It all suggests the respondents are either hopelessly optimistic or hopeless idiots.

Still, let's be thankful that we have Giles, Dunphy, Brady and the rest of RTE's excellent pundits to put things in perspective. Think about it: we could, like the poor licence-payers in Britain, be stuck with a gobsh*te like Colin Murray, the Northern Irish host of last night's Match of the Day.

"They'll be lovin' it, they'll be painting the streets green," chirruped Murray in the wake of Ireland's 3-1 hammering by Croatia.

Too true, Colin. I'm decanting the Dulux right now.



Louis Theroux: Twilight of the Porn Stars 3/5 Match of the Day 1/5

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