His Dad Wrote a Porno, so He Created a Podcast That Became a Global Hit

by

It was a most unconventional beginning.


It’s a tale as old as time: retired builder father says he’s launching a writing career, supportive son shows interest and, upon receiving the first manuscript, realises his dad’s novel is actually erotic fiction. Supportive son then resolves to create a hilarious hit podcast by reading the fiction aloud. Evidently, the story behind the global phenomenon My Dad Wrote a Porno isn’t as timeless as you’d think.

“That is quite a seismic thing to share with your son,” Jamie Morton, host and cofounder of My Dad Wrote a Porno laughs of the first time his dad – who goes by the pen name Rocky Flintstone – sent his first completed novel to him. “[I thought], what a great way to spend your retirement, you know, be a bit creative. But it’s only when I read through the first chapters I realised it was pornography. I was like, ‘What the hell has he been up to in his garden shed? This is not okay.’”

Jamie took the first three chapters down to the pub, where two of his mates and now fellow podcast hosts, Alice Levine and James Cooper, were introduced to the text. “Afterwards, Alice particularly just became obsessed with my dad’s book and she needs to tell everyone about it [and] said we should do something with it. So, we decided to do a podcast.”

And how did Rocky react? “He was like, ‘That’s absolutely fantastic, brilliant! What’s a podcast?’”

Lucky for Rocky and his tome, fabulously named Belinda Blinked [full title Belinda Blinked 1 ; A modern story of sex, erotica and passion. How the sexiest sales girl in business earned her huge bonus by being the best at removing her high heels], the three people taking on the podcast were more than equipped. It’s not just the casual ‘spit-your-coffee-out’ hilarity of My Dad Wrote a Porno that’s garnered more than 50 million downloads and legions of celebrities fan, including Michael Sheen and Daisy Ridley – it’s also that, as many listeners don’t know, the creators are actually extremely experienced media types.

“Alice is a radio presenter [and] she brings all of that knowledge,” Jamie explains. “I’m a director, writer, editor as well, so I edit the show and I can really construct a narrative and know how to kind of build a story, and James is a digital producer – he runs all of our social accounts and he’s done an incredible job at building an audience online. I think all three of us bring really specific and complementary skills to the table that have really helped make the show a success.”

The show is, of course, underpinned by the occasionally naïve and persistent haphazardness of Rocky’s writing – a fact which is never allowed past the quick wits of the three hosts. The effect is like sitting with your friends around a table, slinging comebacks – an environment that Jamie and his real-life university pals were careful to create. As a result, there are podcast fans from Scotland to Saudi Arabia, and the momentum is far from slowing. Jamie, who was in town for the Sydney Writer’s Festival, will return in August with his co-hosts for a live reading of the book. All the while, he tells me, he’s backed by the earnest support from his parents, who even attend meetings on behalf of the company which Jamie, Rocky (who chooses to remain behind his pen name and not make public appearances) James and Alice have created. For Jamie, the podcast has altered more than just his freelance director career – it’s changed his relationship to his family.

“I think for so long, you know, you see your parents not as people at all,” the sibling of three sisters explains. “You see them almost as ‘roles’, not even human in a weird way. ‘Well, that’s my mum’, and ‘That’s my dad.’ You don’t see them as a man and a woman who have emotions and desires and ambitions, and all of those things that we all have, and I think as you get older you start to, you know, your relationship shifts with your parents.”

“I could never see him as a creative person… but kind of seeing what he did with this shows me, ‘Oh no, you are creative. You know, you did have all of that inside of you.’ And that’s lovely to see. And also for me personally, it’s a hint at, kind of, not a sacrifice of that side of him, but certainly it’s a hint for him to kind of prioritise this other side of his life because he had to provide for his family, you know, for four kids. He wasn’t pursuing maybe what he wanted to do, he was doing it for his family. I find that really, really amazing.”

Despite the alarmingly odd comparisons of breasts to pomegranates and nipples to Titanic-sized rivets, the readings of his dad’s eccentric work have brought the two closer.

“It’s been the most rewarding thing, which is surprising because you wouldn’t ever have thought your dad writing erotica would bring you closer together, but it kind of has in my case.”

We would love to hear your thoughts:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *