Monday, November 24, 2008

Sex and Drugs in New Milton

I've been watching those local news reports again. The latest one to grab my attention was a story about the trial of several people accused of sexually abusing children (amongst others), over a near-forty year period. Not the stuff of humour. Indeed, it's a very serious issue. However, it was the reporter's description of the events involved as being a series of 'alcohol and drug fuelled sex orgies in New Milton'. It was the 'New Milton' bit which got me. The very idea that such things have been going on in New Milton seemed quite surreal to me. I mean, New Milton? Have you been to New Milton? I have, and trust me, there is no place on earth less likely to be a venue for sex orgies, alcohol and drug fuelled or otherwise. For those of you not familiar with New Milton, it's a town in Hampshire on the edge of the New Forest and just up from the coast. Now, I know that sounds as if it might be some twee little tourist town, but it isn't. It's more like Slough-on-Sea. Except it isn't actually on the coast, just close to it. It is hard to imagine anything exciting, let alone sex orgies, going on in such a desultory place.

Having said that, the more I thought about it, the more I began to suspect that it was precisely this dullness which had resulted in these bizarre and terrible events taking place. I mean, what the hell else were people expected to do for entertainment in New Milton during the 1960s and 1970s? I'm pretty sure that the permissive society bypassed the place (and let's be frank, it only really existed in Ladbroke Grove for a week in 1967). Not only that, but there was no internet pornography and only three TV channels, one of which,in New Milton, was Southern Television. Which, effectively, meant there were only two channels. There was, of course, regular porn, but in the 1960s and 1970s this took the form of either 'artistically' shot models not really showing anything whilst lying on a sheepskin rug, or some fat bird posing on a leather sofa in some tatty flat in Brighton. So,child abuse, drugs, booze and sex orgies were probably the norm in New Milton. Now, before I start getting hate mail from the denizens of New Milton (or Slough), I'm not saying that they're all a bunch of demented sex perverts living in a cess pool, just that extraordinary things don't only go on behind the doors of Mayfair mansions or Park Lane penthouses. They also happen in perfectly ordinary, relatively dull, suburban streets up and down Britain. The veneer of glamour isn't a prerequisite for sexual degradation.



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