The screen was going ape shit crazy, psychedelic circles flying towards the screen on a fretboard conveyor belt, whilst some virtual prick ponced about in the background. I was having an acid flashback and his fingers were flying - he was breaking all records.
As he wandered past afterwards, expecting veneration, I said "you do realise that if you'd put all those hundreds of hours of practice into learning the actual guitar Kim Kardashian would be sucking you off right now". I didn't really, I just thought it and snarled at him. The point is, Activision have discontinued the game and those fingers are now good for nothing but a data entry job and the relief of anal itches. Who's the winner? I'd like to say me, but we know that's not true.
I thought, why the fuck are people so happy to spend so much of their lives gaining skills that in the real world are absolutely useless? Is it a niche thing? All the real positions are taken, so people console themselves with being the best in a virtual world, and if you're shit in that too then you can just create play offline and be the best in your own little universe?
Or is it because everything is now on tap? Am I thirsty? Yeah, better go to the shop and get some sugary orange flavoured piss down my gullet. Have I got a dick? Yeah, turn on the laptop, type in any two words and insert hand into pants.
Is it demotivating? When I was a kid we had the sugary pisswater, but the smut was a scarce resource - we had to work for it.
I'd go on these epic bike rides with my mates – our folks probably thought we were training for team GB, but we weren’t thinking of the Olympic velodrome, we were just looking for the nearest patch of wood. If we saw more than five trees within a foot of each other we were off those bikes and scratching around.
We did it because then there was a code of chivalry. As soon as you had a regular girlfriend, or got married, you'd get your stash of porn and you take it to the nearest wooded area, you put it in a carrier bag, along with a pair of soiled knickers, to prove that you are now fucking someone, and you'd leave them there for some hormone crazed teenagers to discover. Of course, if you were the teenagers discovering them you couldn't take them home, mum's radar was too powerful, but you wouldn't hide them in the woods either, fuck no. You'd hide them in ditches.
We had a network going that was more comprehensive than the fucking ley lines. I could be anywhere in the county of Essex and know that I was never more than half a mile from a hedgerow wank, and when you’re fifteen that’s an important thing to know.
It was a motivating force for an entire generation. Because of its scarcity it encouraged competition and creativity. At weekends you could see different groups of kids applying different tactics. Some adopted sedative type strategies, paralyzing their parents because they suspected there might well be a stash lurking in the house somewhere. I wanted to be one of those, but my dad was too straight. I found a mag in my mum's drawer though, but that only had Italian men with massive wangers in it and, frankly, that was scarring for me and my transitional cock. So I had to tag along with the fucking bikers.
I didn’t want to but it was my only avenue. My ninja climbing claws hadn't arrived from America yet and I sure as fuck wasn’t going to be one of the cunts that just walked into shops and ordered it. That was the approach of another mate of mine. He couldn’t come on the bike rides because his parents never taught him to ride, so it was his only option. But it fucked him. He didn't have to graft - like him it came too easily. In order to avoid wanking himself into dust he had to up the stakes. By the time he was eighteen he couldn't get off unless it involved a gran having a piss over someone. But we went miles for ours – we earned every wank, and so a pair of tits and a bum were always enough for us. Except one.
As soon as we found our first stash that was it – he was hooked. He’d take off every evening and weekend on his chopper, then go home and thrash about with his other chopper. Before long he was touring the whole country.
Whilst I can't tell you his name I can say that it’s served him well -he's now a Tour de France legend. One of the greatest cyclists of his generation started out scratching around Essex with us lot looking for smut. And I wonder - is it still the motivating force? Is it the prospect of what might lay around the next corner the thought that carries him up all those mountains? Every time I switch on the telly to watch him compete I’m terrified he’s going to catch an errant carrier bag out of the corner of his eye and that will be it – he’ll be off his saddle with his conscience in his hand, pumping away, and his tour will be over for another year.