My Dad Wrote A Porno Is Exactly What It Sounds Like — Here's Why You Should Listen

Now would probably be a good time to ask your dad if he's ever written porn — you might just get a hugely successful podcast out of it. Unfortunately that means that, like Jamie Morton, you'll have to read it every single day.

For almost three years now, Morton has been sitting down with friends James Cooper and Alice Levine for the podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno. The series goes line-by-line through his dad's (who goes by the alias Rocky Flintstone) wildest and often anatomically incorrect sexual fantasies in Belinda Blinked, a series of erotic "novels" à la Fifty Shades Of Grey (or "Fifty Colors Of Grey," as Flintstone calls it).

The series' protagonist, Belinda, a sales executive at a "pots and pans" company, forgoes sleep and food in favor of charging through a never-ending series of ludicrous and ill-advised sexual scenarios with a rotating and increasing cast of characters, much to the listener's delight, as Morton, Cooper, and Levine's hilarious commentary makes it not only palatable, but has us begging for more (but not in like, a Belinda way). The group of friends, who all work in digital, TV, and radio in the U.K., have built up a following of eager "Belinkers" all over the world thanks to their banter (including a number of celebrities, who often appear on the show), boasting over 144,000 followers on Instagram and numerous sold-out live shows in concert halls.

This week, the gang kicked off their first American tour (details on that over here), but first they were kind enough to hop on the phone with me, one such Belinker, to chat about how they got here, what Rocky Flintstone thinks of all this, and how maybe, just maybe, Belinda might be the most feminist woman of our time.

Can you describe the moment you stumbled on your father's book and realized what it was?

Jamie: "I wish I’d stumbled upon it, [Rocky] gave it to me. He just bold as brass handed me the pages, and I couldn’t believe it. He didn’t really reveal what the book was about — and obviously we’re using the word ‘book’ kindly — so I kind of took it away, and when I read it on my own I realized it was pornography. The first line is like she’s getting naked in a job interview. He’d just been writing it secretly in the garden shed without my mum knowing, and it was awful. I went through a range of emotions, disgust, horror, and kind of landed on just hilarity, really."

So he was immediately proud of it and wanted to share it with everyone?

Jamie: "He is still incredibly proud of it. The odd thing is that it is brilliant in a way, it has got genius in there. It’s hard to decipher it. He can tell these preposterous stories that are ridiculous and make no sense, yet are strangely compelling, and write characters that are in the book for all of three lines and become kind of iconic characters. He’s really proud of it, and he still thinks he’s kind of been working on a level above us."

Does writing something like this fit with his personality?

James: "I wasn’t surprised. I’ve known him for quite a while, and it’s totally the kind of thing he would do. He’s an eccentric as it is, and he’s always kind of got these mad side projects and hobbies that he does so when Jamie told us, as funny as it was…."

Jamie: "There’s someone being eccentric and a bit mad….and then your dad writing pornography. There’s a bit of a leap between those two things. I am personally quite surprised, but he is a character. Now he’s done it it makes more sense, but it’s not something I ever imagined would be in either of our futures."

What about your mom?

Jamie: "You know what? She’s brilliant, actually. Initially she was just a bit baffled, to be honest, and then kind of as the show’s grown and gotten more popular she gets it a bit more now. She doesn’t listen to the show, but she’s very proud of us...I think."

How did it go from this one crazy thing to a podcast?

Alice: "We have a kind of friends Christmas at a pub, sort of like a Richard Curtis film, really picturesque in London, you can imagine the clientele, everyone enjoying their festive time, it’s very high brow, open fire, families, etc., and Jamie’s like, ‘Oh, by the way, my dad’s been writing fiction.’ And we were like, ‘Stop it. That’s brilliant.’ We were like ‘What is it?’ and he was like ‘It’s porn.’ We were like, 'Noooo.' Just the thought of it was so exciting. He had the first three chapters, two chapters written out fully, and then a chapter that was in bullet point form. He started to recite them and I’m not joking, it took us hours to get through it because we kept interrupting him. I mean, if you think the podcast is long."

James: "We were back and forth for a while. It took us like, six months, we couldn’t really get it out of our heads."

Jamie: "It was actually Alice, as well. Alice became inappropriately obsessed with it. She would talk about it with everyone that she met. I think she was kind of the driving force."

Alice: "I basically wouldn’t stop talking about it...Because we just had so much fun doing it with James, we just kind of all got our heads together and were like, maybe a podcast is the right platform. So we just gave it a go, really. We said to ourselves, if we find it funny and somehow manage to capture that feeling we had in the pub, then we should carry on with it. So we did."

How did you decide that the three of you would be involved?

Jamie: "Me, James, and Alice have always done kind of little side project things. We’ve worked together before, made little shorts and sketches and things, so it was kind of a natural fit for the three of us to do it. But there wasn’t a big grand plan, it very much happened around us."

Alice: "We were genuinely friends. You can’t fake or try to recreate that chemistry. We’ve known each other for a really long time, so I think just the fact that we enjoy each other and enjoy each other’s humor so much is really important. A common theme in stuff we’ve enjoyed is that you were never excluded by the fact that you didn’t know an in-joke, you didn’t know somebody that was being referred to. If you’ve heard every episode, you’ll get every in-joke, because you’re contained in the world."

What did your dad say when you said you were going to turn it into a podcast?

Jamie: "He had the best reaction. I said, ‘Dad, we’re thinking of making this into a podcast.’ And he was like ‘Oh my God, that’s absolutely fantastic. What’s a podcast?’ He was on board from the moment I said it and then we recorded the first episode, and I played that episode to my whole family just to make sure everyone was on the same page and happy with it. And that’s kind of true now, if anybody in my family said that they were uncomfortable in any way, we’d just stop doing the show. It’s only a bit of fun, really."

Is there a moment you can point to when you realized it had taken off in a way you hadn’t expected?

James: "I think around the third show we put out, Elijah Wood tweeted about. We were like, 'Oh, my god.' He just said he thought it was hilarious, completely out of nowhere. We were screengrabbing the tweet, sending it round, freaking out a bit. I guess that was the moment a) we realized anyone was listening, but b) that it had spread."

Do you have a favorite celebrity you’ve had on?

James: "Michael Sheen proved to be very popular."

Jamie: "Daisy Ridley as well. Nicholas Hoult was very fun, we did that in Montreal. What I like about the show is everyone brings such a different perspective to my dad’s books. So it’s always an interesting conversation, and they love my dad. We get in their DMs and we’re chatting and they come round to one of our flats, Nic Hoult came to our hotel, and they bring prosecco or stuff with them, and it’s so fun and informal. And once we’ve recorded they stick around for a bit and have a chat. It’s been really, really nice."

Alice: "It’s all been pretty bizarre. We just record at one of our houses, and it’s just kind of strange that people just rock up to our flat. Daisy just kind of knocked on our door and had two bottles of prosecco and was like, ‘Hey guys, let’s do this.’ That feeling that you’re really familiar already because they’ve listened to you go on for three series, so you have this ready-made friendship. You’re not starting from square one warming up, which is really nice."

Is there a standout moment from the book that scarred you forever?

Jamie: "So, so many. I have to say the whole blue cum episode was horrific. And the less said about that the better."

James: "Grabbing the cervix. To this day he still uses cervix as if it’s another word for vagina.

Alice: "I would have to say anything to do with the location of the cervix I really struggle with, and the boys have kind of made me Ambassador to the Cervix, like, ‘Oh, Alice will deal with that bit.’ I’m not officially the spokeswoman for female reproductive systems!"

Being the one woman on the show, do you find yourself having to speak for women or answer certain questions?

Alice: "They think I’m the oracle. They’re like, ‘Can a woman orgasm eight times in a row?’ And I’m like, ‘Uh I guess?’"

Is there anything you admire or have learned from Belinda?

Alice: "She’s quite the character, isn’t she? Things I’ve learned from her are...thongs are still a thing. G strings are still on in a big way. Who knew? Also, that eating and sleeping are not particularly important to her. I don’t think she’s slept for, like, three books. So you know, losers sleep, winners plow on for a month. She’s straight-through crew.

"The three of us talk about this quite a lot, depending on how you look at it, you could say a woman who’s empowered and in charge of her sexuality being the protagonist in a porn book is quite progressive."

Has anything about the recent sexual harassment reckoning changed how you approach any of this? Or is it so different from sex that it doesn’t seem to intersect.

Jamie: "These books are kind of the anti-sex books in a way. My dad just isn’t really that bothered about the sex part. But what we have kind of realized with this whole amazing conversation that’s happening at the minute is actually how progressive these books are in an odd way. It’s always on the women’s terms. To have pornography being told from a female perspective is quite different, and the female characters are always the ones that are the most well-drawn. The men don’t fare very well."

Alice: "I think it is exciting that it’s a female protagonist, and we joke because obviously the books are terrible, but what’s good is it opens up a conversation. We call out stuff that feels outmoded because it’s like, oh actually, this is our chance to...I think humor’s really powerful in that way, because we’re being light-hearted, but we are actually saying, ‘Wait a minute, that’s not cool,’ or we’re saying like, ‘Do people still think that? Is that still a thing?’ And actually I think that’s quite a good way of talking about it."

Is there any pressure on Rocky to keep writing or on you guys to keep making the show, or are you just going to let it come to its natural conclusion if that presents itself?

Jamie: "We’ve always taken it series by series, book by book. We genuinely, when we get towards the end, we think, ‘Are we going to the next one? And the next one?’ Obviously we’re still in that period where we’re in the books he wrote before we started, so there’s conversations we’ve had, the books beyond that, what do we do? I’m so excited to see what he’s written thinking he’s being...trying to write for us."

James: "We’ve always said we’ll do it as long as a) we’re enjoying it and b) people want to hear it. We always take it as it comes. It’s a really fortunate position to be in I think. We’ll definitely stop when we feel like the time’s right."

Alice: "I guess it’s worth saying that it kind of never stopped being [fun] for us. It never became, ‘Oh god, we’ve got to sit down and do another one.’ We just love doing it. That part of it is always the same. Always like, ‘Oh my god we can’t wait to do another chapter.’ And James and I are always raring to go to hear it."

Do you ever considering doing this full time? How do you fit all this around your careers?

James: "We all kind of have our day jobs and we’ll still record the podcast in evenings and weekends and whenever we can."

Alice: "I guess in a sense it was a kitchen table project, homegrown thing. We’ve just kind of had to adapt to it getting bigger, and that’s no bad thing, but we’re still quite a small...the three of us and obviously people help us with the tour and people help to do the book and various things but we’re still over everything, so in that way you feel more in control. We just get James to do everything, anything important that requires a proper adult, like opening a bank account or whatever, we just make James do it."

Jamie: "It’s so funny that we still try and fit it in. Essentially we are just three mates who get around the kitchen table and laugh at this book that my dad wrote. It is that simple a concept, really. I think the minute we rely on it, it would take away a bit of why we enjoy it. Saying that, who knows what the future will bring. We quite like that there’s a balance. For me, I cannot have reading my dad’s pornography be my full time job."

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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