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Getting Away From Sex

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So I guess in my first blog I'd better say 'hello' and introduce myself a little bit.

I'm Ashley Hames and some of you may know me as the guy who presented the Sin Cities shows on Bravo. Sin Cities was a raunchy, gonzo-style documentary series about sex and pornography where I would travel around the world interviewing porn stars and investigating (and sometimes taking part in) odd sexual fetishes.

In fact, I'd say that Sin Cities is pretty much the ONLY thing I'm known for, even though I last recorded a show more than five years ago!

I'm not sure whether this is a good or a bad thing - it seems no matter what I do in my working life I will always be remembered simply as the bloke who had his scrotum nailed to a plank of wood.

Which is fair enough really, it was a very special moment. My Mum was especially proud.

But seriously, I'd thought it was a finished chapter, and that with Bravo TV no longer broadcasting I would now be able to re-define myself perhaps as a writer, maybe as a late night radio host.

But then, just as I felt I was on the verge of putting my somewhat sleazy past behind me, I get the news that another broadcaster on Sky has bought the series and is now re-running it every single weekend.

Pfff.

I'm not ashamed of hosting a filth-laden sex show like Sin Cities - far from it. But Christ, part of me feels like bloody Al Pacino in The Godfather: 'Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!'

I might sound like I'm just mucking about here, but having felt like I had 'done' sex, I had recently moved on to complete a non-fiction book about the recent death of my father, Seven Days to Say I Love You.

As the title might suggest, this is a really sad, poignant story, told from the heart.

It's about terminal illness and pent-up emotions.

It deals with grief and complicated family relationships.

It's dignified.

It has great significance to me.

But how can I possibly hope to be taken seriously when any potential publisher could turn on their TV and see me trussed up in a gynaecological chair having candle wax dripped onto my nipples by a rubber-clad transsexual dominatrix?

That's not what Booker Prize-winning authors do. Well it might be, but it's not usually televised.

It's bizarre: I feel like I'm becoming one of the characters I used to interview - an outsider, someone on the margins, misunderstood, a freak. I really don't mind that - I'm hip with being considered a weirdo, but what I don't like is to be boxed up and defined as a single entity.

It's nothing new to say that human beings are complicated and multi-faceted; that's what makes us special. I may now consider myself something of a writer but I'm the first to admit that at the end of the day, I also love a good wank. Now, there's nothing wrong with that is there?