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What is it about 1979 and spanking?

Illustration by Barbara O'Toole

I’m delighted to let you know that I am currently working on the third draft of my spanking novel. Remember that? If you follow me on social media it might ring a bell. I finished the first draft during that first terrible lockdown of 2020, and it stopped me going absolutely bat-shit crazy, alone in my flat in London. I remember those memes- How many of these things have you managed to do today? ‘get out of bed - shower - get dressed - have breakfast - do some exercise - make a meal - do some work - contact a friend/family member - watch tv - do some homework’ and so on. It was an achievement to have ticked off 2 or 3 on many days. Having a purpose and a schedule, and a huge project to work on was healing, steadying, and kept my addled brain engaged. I was planning to get the 2nd draft underway during last year’s winter lockdown. The most challenging thing I could manage by then, however, was watching ‘Ru-Paul’s Drag Race’. And yet, somehow I found my mojo again and here I am, working on the 3rd draft at last! It is within reach now: I can see a finished novel emerging. And I’m very excited about it.

I wanted to tell you a little about my upcoming novel in this blog, and why I decided to have it take place in 1979. Set somewhere in provincial England, it is the story of Andrew, a horny, music-obsessed teenager who is sent to live with his Aunty while his parents are going through a marital breakdown. It turns out Andrew is a secret spanko (he just doesn’t know that yet) and his Aunty is a ‘secret’ disciplinarian. The story charts the development of their spanking relationship, and his journey into discipline, petticoat-punishent and humiliation at the hands of not only his Aunty but also her enthusiastic group of friends: the ‘Bridge Ladies’. This formidable quartet includes a headmistress, a manageress at Woolworths, and a ward sister (a homage to my dear friend Nanny Vee). Meanwhile Andrew is learning about love with his new girlfriend, Suzy, (and desperately trying to get into her knickers, of course). He meets his match in Agatha, the headmistress’ daughter, who at first appears to be a swotty, goody-two-shoes, but behind the adults’ back behaves rather differently.

I wanted the story to be one long spankaholic fever-dream: a saucy and intimate fantasy with a distinctly retro vibe. My absolute kink is old-fashioned domestic discipline, so my locations are the living room, the bedroom, the bathroom and Aunty’s sacred study (kept locked most of the time, the key on a hook in the pantry). I loved the idea of Andrew’s world revolving around Bernie Inn dinners, Woolworths shopping days, Wimpy Bars, bowling alleys, the latest edition of Smash Hits, the town centre pub with his mates and BMX bike rides round the local area.

The house where Aunty lives is based on my grandparent’s house with its neat front garden, G-plan furniture, and gramophone given pride of place in the bay window. Aunty Ruby is a homage to ladies of that era like my grandmother- sturdy and glamorous working class women who worked hard, knew what was what, and had standards. They went to the hairdressers for a wash and set every week, they wore pearls and tan stockings, they kept their nails painted and their houses clean. They may have enjoyed a sherry at the weekend but they were disciplined and organised and they took no nonsense. Inspiration drawn from my mother modernizes the character of Aunty Ruby- her close friendships with equally assertive and independent working women, her caring, maternal side, and her sense of humour.

Another reason I wanted it to take place in the seventies: If you are of a similar age you will remember how much spanking and discipline was in the air those days- corporal punishment soon to be abolished in schools, old films like Westerns depicting men slinging women across their lap for a few smacks, the Beano and Dandy full of threats of a slippering or the cane, here there and everywhere a strict aunt, dinner-lady, neighbour, or friend’s Mum who would threaten you with a ‘jolly good hiding.’ Authority-figures like policemen, doctors and teachers were still deferred to. The idea of punishment was everywhere.

Add to this the ‘before-times’ element of everything being slower back then. Basic technology was starting to enhance our lives but nothing like the internet or the mobile phone obsessions of today had messed with our minds yet. So if you were a spanko or kinky in some way, you thought you were the only one until chance brought you into contact with another. Maybe years after you realised this shocking truth about yourself. Pornography was not the misogynistic crime-scene gang-banging it has become today, but mostly hazy depictions of hairy, languorous people being a bit saucy with each other. You had time to develop, to explore your sexuality, to be thrilled and driven to distraction by the slightest hint of naughtiness. You had time for your imagination to run wild. People actually read books and magazines, and needed far less stimulation than today.

And of course there was a very significant event in 1979 in England. Margret Thatcher became the first ever female prime minister, looming large in our lives: a wicked witch with a withering put-down, sporting pussy-bow blouses, court shoes and a helmet-hairdo. Whatever your politics (and I can tell you I am not a fan) she made great strides as an authoritative woman. Despite this still being a sexist culture, you could see the glimmerings of matriarchy and women’s liberation. Strong, sexy women were also everywhere in popular culture- from Charlie’s Angels to Debbie Harry to Sigourney Weaver in Alien. No wonder teenage Andrew wanders, with a constant hard-on, through this changing landscape, hoping and doing everything possible to get his bottom sorely thrashed at every opportunity.

I will keep you updated regarding the progress of my magnum opus, and may even share a few short extracts here in my blog. I think there will be an audience for my particular brand of old-fashioned, saucy retro kink. We all need a good dose of nostalgia, specially in these troubled times. While it was not perfect, there is something very comforting about slipping back into the late 70s, that culture, vibe, and life-style: simpler times when the rules were clear, and you were much more likely to be summoned with a crooked finger, and ordered to drop your pants and get across her knee. Hopefully this explains why many of my spanking sessions take place in a fantasy version of this era, and why this novel is firmly set in 1979.

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