Jamie Morton on the My Dad Wrote A Porno Tour

What started as an obscure podcast about a dad's fumblings at erotic fiction is now on a world tour. Podcast creator Jamie Morton chats about My Dad Wrote a Porno's success and the live show's interactive elements

Feature by Jenni Ajderian | 28 Mar 2018
  • My Dad Wrote A Porno

Legend has it that in the winter of 2014, Jamie Morton’s father came to him with a manuscript for an erotic novel. By the time Morton had read it, shared it with his friends, and come back with the encouragement to finish the story, his father (alias Rocky Flintstone) had written three more.

"I think he had them stockpiled," says Morton, having just finished a tour of the US celebrating his dad's work with thousands of fans, “unless he wrote those books in the space of three weeks, which, given the way they’re written, wouldn’t be that surprising."

Inspired by the rise and climax of the Fifty Shades of Grey series, Rocky Flintstone chose to use his retirement to create something new, and self-publish it online. The birth of Belinda Blinked came as Rocky, a self-taught wordsmith of Northern Irish heritage, retired from his career as a builder and salesman. Using his experience of the high-octane world of home appliances, he built up a fictional world of businesspeople who are, if not exactly cut-throat, then certainly bum-grab and boob-jostle.

The adventures of Belinda Blumenthal, sales director of Steele’s Pots and Pans, are listed on Amazon under both Erotica and Business and Management. Some of its critics would say it belongs in neither of these categories, as it is neither particularly sexy nor a good model for business etiquette. But perhaps the industry is presented completely accurately: stripping during job interviews; forming intimate customer relationships while tied up in a maze; motivating Regional Sales Managers using your nipples... Those pots and pans aren’t going to sell themselves. Morton suggests they could have a place on the school curriculum: "Sex education – What Not To Do."

Like any great literature, the analysis and criticism of Rocky Flintstone’s magnum opus has taken on a life of its own. Following Morton’s first meeting with the opening chapters of the book, a podcast was born entitled My Dad Wrote A Porno. Since it broadcast in the autumn of 2015, MDWAP has clocked up over a hundred million downloads, launched a spin-off book, and now is on a world tour.

"It’s one thing people downloading and listening to it," Morton explains, "the podcast is free. It’s quite another thing to pay money to come and see us. People come dressed up as all the characters: looking out at a sea of Belindas and Duchesses was a little bit weird"

Each episode of the podcast involves Morton and friends, James Cooper and Alice Levine, reading a chapter of Rocky’s work and giving analysis and criticism. Considering the work, these comments can range from "what a dull meeting" to "what the hell is a vaginal lid supposed to be" to simple wordless cries of disgust.

When it comes to live shows, the trio decided to do something a little different, and bring out a lost chapter of the BB series. "It’s something that he wrote right at the beginning of this whole process that even he thought was too bad to include in any of the books. It is awful, but brilliant. It’s about Belinda taking the Regional Sales Managers on a team-building away day, and things get progressively more disgusting as the day goes on. There are video elements, we get people up on stage to re-enact some of the scenes, we get people to play the characters throughout the show. It’s quite immersive, which has gone down really well."

To the uninitiated, a world of leather sex rooms and sad, slobbering Regional Sales Managers is not a world one might want to be immersed in. "Honestly it surprises us every single show," says Morton. He adds: "We ask ‘does anyone want to come and help recreate it?’ – and a sea of people’s hands raises up, without knowing what they’re going to be asked to do."

That fun has made its way from the free podcast to venues around the UK, the US and Australia. Last year Rocky Flintstone’s bewildering brand of smut made it to the Sydney Opera House, and this year it will sashay its way to the Royal Albert Hall. "I still can’t believe we’ll be playing it. We’ve talked about getting a live band in to play the music, but we’ll see. We have to up our game a bit for that one because that is insane.

"It’s really surprising to me – based on subject matter alone, why should people be interested in this terrible erotic novel that my dad wrote? We never expected from the outset that people would take Belinda and Rocky to their hearts the way they have." Sales were modest before the podcast, but as Morton adds: "He's sold a few thousand now, which is really good, particularly for an online-published thing. He has done pretty well."

In a string of ask-the-author segments, Rocky has given insight into his Process: he lists his main influences as ‘Steph [Stephen] King’ and ‘Australian chardonnay and a couple of G&Ts’. Morton describes him as "not a huge reader", and as having "delusions of grandeur" in connection to his ambition of having a Belinda Blinked theme park. That said, a string of celebrity fans have pledged with surprising sincerity to appear in an imagined Belinda Blinked movie. "What’s shocking is that they’re all deadly serious about this." Morton tells us, "Nick Hoult was saying – ‘Genuinely, I will play Adaam. Give me a call.’"

Rocky doesn’t believe in writer’s block, so the original four books have swelled still larger. Morton sounds like he is struggling to keep up. "I think he’s just finished the eighth. There’s no end in sight."

The podcast having a life of its own, though, means it may well run its course before Belinda runs hers. "After the end of each season we have a chat – do we want to do it again, is there still stuff that we want to say about this, is it still making us laugh? We are kind of married to this project, and it’s brought us a lot of joy, but the moment it feels like we’ve stopped enjoying it, or we stop finding it funny, we’ll stop."

For the moment, though, Belinkers can be reassured that the source text has kept Morton, Cooper and Levine engaged enough to continue for now. "He keeps writing these insane stories that keep us intrigued, so I don’t know. It all lives and dies on each book."

Fans will recall that the last series ended on a monstrous cliff-hanger: the usual slow, meandering plot, filled with bizarre dialogue and baffling misunderstandings of female anatomy, took a turn into something like a spy novel. The Special One was introduced, but not identified. Does the first chapter of book four give any answers?

"I can’t tell you that."

Belinkers across the globe scream in anguish.

"I know. I’m excited by what’s to come, put it that way."


My Dad Wrote a Porno Live, Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 Apr, 8pm, tickets from £30; Glasgow King's Theatre, 19 Apr, 8pm, tickets from £30