This isn’t quite the post I set out to write tonight.
You see, I’ve spent the last two days in Glasgow on trade union business. I belong to Amicus (largest private-sector trade union in Britain with 1.7 million members, etc etc). In the bank I work for there is also another union, a situation we’re still getting used to, as prior to a merger a few years ago the two unions were operating in separate companies. The unions work together pretty well these days, but someone realised that the company committees of the two unions (the bodies that decide how we organise ourselves in the bank) didn’t in the main know each other. I imagine each of us knew two or three on the other side, but that would be it. And these are committees of twenty-odd people. (Or perhaps twenty odd people.)
So. On Wednesday, part of our meeting was given over to a presentation by the president of the other union on its history, structure and what-have-you, while one of the full-time Amicus officials who deals with our bank did a similar spiel to the other union’s committee. In the evening, there was a social event; a dinner for the two committees. In order to encourage mixing, we had place cards and were put into mixed tables, half and half of each union.
The card next to mine was for someone called Vic, and I imagined a middle-aged bloke (maybe subconsciously thinking of Vic Feather). However, when my Vic turned up she was far from middle-aged (early thirties) and definitely
not a bloke. The words “bubbly” “vivacious” “blonde” and “flirt” sprang to mind, along with “personable” and “intelligent”. We chatted about all sorts of things: left-wing activism, why we’d left the Labour Party, what a twunt Tony Blair is (and how we’d both clocked I him as such back before he was even party leader). We talked about wine, cars and motorbikes. We talked about Donovan and Cat Stevens, and John Peel. We talked about union stuff, and when we were discussing health and safety issues she mentioned that she had MS. From her description of spending quite a lot of the time with restricted mobility – either sticks or a wheelchair – and quite a lot of time with seriously impaired vision, it was clear that this was relapsing-remitting MS, like Jed Bartlett in The West Wing
. I hadn’t known previously that MS went for your vision, so that was something learned. We chatted about her husband, who is a software writer, author apparently of a best-selling book on BBC Basic (ah, it takes me back). Vic did say what he was doing these days, but her next line rather wiped that from my memory as she said that in their spare time they were Internet pornographers. So, as you do, I asked whether she modelled or whether they simply distributed other people’s stuff (both, as it turned out), and that was that. Well, of course I asked for the site name; it would have been rude not to….We carried on chatting, and after dinner ended up in different groups and just said goodbye as I left later on.
And there it was left. Next morning Vic was rather the topic of conversation at our union meeting; I mean, it’s not every day you end up chatting to a porn star, however minor. I understand that as the evening wore on Vic had become rather, er, forthcoming about her private life. So there were many comments along the lines of Vic being the other unions’s secret recruiting aid, and of course when the topic of our own union’s web pages came up the Vic jokes resumed. A little unkind perhaps, as she had seemed a fairly multi-dimensional personality to me (I was going to say well-rounded: that too). But I suppose if you’re an outgoing in-your-face kind of woman and you make a habit of telling people your sideline, to say nothing of being upfront about your sexuality, you run the risk of not being taken seriously about other things. I know various people in Amicus, who weren't there today, who are very involved with women’s issues; while they would not have approved of Vic’s line of business, I like to think they might have tried to avoid one-dimensional evaluations had they met her. Actually, they probably have
met her, as Vic at one time was an office-holder in the Women’s TUC.
And that is pretty much what I was going to post. Then I actually visited Vic’s website (well, it would have been churlish not to, don’t you think?) and got rather a surprise. Because Vic’s site is a fundraising site for the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre (it’s full name is VixPix – Tits Out For Multiple Sclerosis
). And I thought, what a great idea. I mean, people raise money for medical research by doing sponsored parachute jumps, or by running the London Marathon dressed as a carrot, but as far as I know this as the first time someone has stripped off for it. I wondered whether there would have been quite so many rude remarks this morning if people had visited her site first.
In fairness, I must point out that there is a very discreet link to Vic’s non-charitable site where a little more than the cleavage and nipple of VixPix is to be had. Also to her blog, which is definitely a porno blog rather than a general one. (Hence I haven't blogrolled it.) So yes, she does have the kind of sites people were imagining: but they aren’t actually the one she was publicising at the dinner. A fine distinction perhaps, but there you are.
a visit. Read the press release, and the article from The Sun. Give MRSC the money. Oh, and enjoy the tits if you like that sort of thing. I know I do. I salute a charming dinner companion, a fellow lefty and fellow union activist, and an extremely brave and intelligent woman with a terrific rack and a terrific attitude.