Like me, my dad was in advertising.
His speciality was industrial advertising; most of his clients’ ads appeared in magazines like What’s New in Hydrocarbon Processing – he would read it for its gardening tips.
He would often bring these magazines home – they often had riveting articles about heating, ventilating and riveting promoted on the front covers.
So, when I found a copy of Playboy in a dark cupboard in our Balham flat, I was very confused.
Had my dad won a bra advertising account? Was this research? Was one of the “contributors” going to feature in one of my dad’s ads?
I’d never before seen an ad which featured a naked woman holding up a tunnel support.
My next question was why this magazine was in the cupboard and not lying on our coffee table alongside the Radio Times or Woman’s Own? Or my Beano?
Because, as a ten-year-old, I wanted to follow my dad into advertising, I thought I’d do my own research.
I was researching away when my mum found me in the darkened cupboard.
“You really shouldn’t be looking at magazines featuring ladies’ bare breasts, Michael.”
“Bare breasts, mother,” I replied, “I’d not noticed; I was reading the very well-written in-depth articles.”
She took the magazine away, probably to be used as a rolling pin later that evening on my dad, muttering, “no bleedin’ wonder you’re always having to go to the opticians!”