Paying it Forward
A few years ago (actually quite a few years ago now) there was a popular twenty something TV drama in the UK that made stars of it's cast. It's still on now, but nothing like as popular as it once was. The actors involved were splashed across the internet, newspapers, and the various lifestyle and celebrity magazines – no doubt sold to the tabloid media by their agents to milk as much money from them as possible before they became yesterday's news.
Half the reason the programme comes to mind is because a couple of the actors from the show now live in town – you occasionally see them wandering along the street with their kids, looking just as hassled and tired as the rest of us. Because we live in a fairly quiet town just far enough from London to avoid too much of the mayhem, quite a few 'famous' actors live nearby – you sometimes see photos from their instagram accounts with familiar streets, shops, or parks in the background.
One of the girls in the TV show I mentioned ruffled quite a few feathers during the pandemic – she joined OnlyFans, and started selling photos of herself. At first the media couldn't believe their luck – the TV show very quickly fired her, and both she and the show became headline news. Of course the TV show then quietly re-employed her as if nothing had happened. They got their publicity, she got her publicity, and everybody was happy.
The interesting thing to me was people's reaction to her reasons for joining OnlyFans in the first place. After spending most of her career being prostituted by agents onto magazine front pages, lad-mag centrefolds, and endless fake holiday or night-out photos for celebrity lifestyle magazines, she decided enough was enough – and forceably took back control. Her body. Her rules. Her income from selling it.
So how on earth does this relate to the title of this post – 'paying it forward' ?
During the pandemic I started recording and distributing videos on YouTube pursuing what had been a personal interest of my own – aviation. Along the way I slowly picked up followers, and eventually monetised the channel. A steady stream of 'side income' started to roll in, and I had a small amount of disposable money for the first time in years. I decided to start using it for something constructive.
Knowing that a few online acquaintances have started endeavours at Youtube, Substack, Patreon, OnlyFans (cough, yes, THAT OnlyFans), and various other places, I have set about picking one every so often to support. I'm not so much supporting the content they create – I'm supporting them as people, and their contribution to moving the moral compass just a little.
I've always had a bit of a chip on my shoulder about rules, the establishment, and social norms. The whole topic of 'censorship' is loaded – and has tended to be controlled by the morally outraged few, rather than the more sensible and liberal many. I love that the internet has opened the door for so many people to be themselves, to express themselves, to connect directly with others, and to take back control.
I admire the bravery of those that have stood up during the first wave of 'citizen creators' – that have started so many conversations that led to change, acceptance, and empowerment for so many.
If you happen to have a side-project going on, email me. You never know – you may acquire an unexpected supporter one day.