A Tribute To "Porno Witch" Mary Millington by Devil's Witches

A Tribute To "Porno Witch" Mary Millington by Devil's Witches

If the title 'Porno Witch' ever held a more literal meaning then it was no more so than for Mary Millington. The Britain of the 1970’s was a world away from our era of instant-gratification hub porn. Back then you had to go out in the rainy streets of Soho, London or to The Grand at Glasgow's famous Four Corners, or Sauchiehall Street's Tatler Club. There were also many other now-forgotten places up and down the dreary streets of Britain. Once you settled in you were met with lot of nothing usually. The kind of porn we can see in an instant on our smartphones was completely illegal. This was all a bit of bush, jiggly bums, slapstick comedy and if you were lucky some dry humping. If you were in need of actual sexual material there were very little options. Mary Millington sought to change that. 


Mary started her career as a model doing glamour shots. She had a great camera presence and this brought her to the attention of Scottish pornographer John Lindsay. Lindsay was a photographer and former student of Glasgow's prestigious school of art. Seeing as photojournalism made very little money he turned to the illegal blue movie market. He asked Mary if she was interested in doing some images and movies with real sex to be sold in the more liberal Scandinavian markets. Mary, being outgoing and adventurous, said yes very quickly. She did the entire round of the available magazines and shot a handful of hard-core movies. Most of these films are lost now forever due to them aging badly or Mary's name not being included for her anonymity. Her first and most famous was 'Miss Bohrloch' shot by Lindsay. A typical 'fuck the workmen' type movie. Two scenes stand out, one where Mary tells them they have to wash her dishes now after being 'well-fed' and another that includes a ping pong ball popping out her vagina whilst on the phone giving her address as '6 Pop Street'. This kind of natural talent for sweet sex comedy moments would go on to define Mary's initial public persona more than the sex.  

During the 70’s Mary became the star of the British magazine Playbirds. Ran by a young businessman called David Sullivan. David would become one of the biggest adult magazine creators with multiple titles of various strengths. These magazines would push the line of acceptability and were a constant source of debate. Some of my favorite pieces to collect from Playbirds are the 'Mary Visits' articles. Here we would see a few pictures of Mary up and down Britain, Glasgow, Blackpool, Leeds, Cardiff, etc paired with a fictional sex story of meeting the locals and having her quimm serviced. These were fun little pieces and are very British in their style and presentation.


The very famous other “Mary”, and self-elected protector of decency, Mary Whitehouse, would help make Millington a household name from all her anti-porn ramblings. Everyone in Britain now had their eyes on our Mary and what would come next. 


In 1977 Mary would go on to star in a movie from magazine mogul David Sullivan called 'Come play with me'. This was a light-hearted sex comedy but was pushed as the most explicit movie to be shown in British cinemas. Judging by the laws of the time it probably was. This film played for years and went onto to be the longest running movie in British cinema history. Mary followed up this film with a few others including my personal favorite 'Playbirds'. With all this success Mary set up her own adult store in Tooting. From here she could sell all her legal works and various other British adult magazines and films plus illegal ones under the counter. Mary would be seen regularly in the store chatting to customers or walking around fully nude! It seemed that Britain was beginning to feel a bit of a sexual revolution. However, this joy was not to last  


All this fame must have took its toll on Mary as she turned to alcohol and drugs to deal with mental health problems she was now beginning to experience. The police would raid her store regularly to find illegal porn, verbally abuse her, threaten her and Mary herself even claimed to have been assaulted. These last days for Mary were dark, filled with fear, abuse, and isolation. The carefree Mary that was up for anything and believed in free expression was broken. The British establishment were cracking down and Mary was at the forefront of the witch hunt. Mary was constantly looking over her shoulder for the next police encounter. The mental strain and fear of this destroyed her sanity.  

On 19th August 1979, Mary went to bed. She wrote out four separate notes to be given to different people. These notes are filled with desperation, paranoia and heart-breaking insights into Mary's mind-set. The note that stands out the most was one written to magazine owner David Sullivan:

"The police have framed me yet again. They frighten me. I can't face the thought of prison. They've said I'll definitely go to Holloway and told me how bad it is there. I do so hope porn is legal one day, they called me obscene names for being in possession of it and I can't go through it anymore. The Nazi tax man has finished me as well. Please print in your magazine how much I wanted porn legalized, but the police have beaten me." 

On that night the world lost Mary.  


Mary's legacy is that of a true 'Porno Witch'. She stood up for sexual expression as a hobby, as an art form, as a human right. I wrote the track 'Porno Witch' to celebrate her life, to bring her story to those who might never hear it and to capture the happiness and sadness together in one sound. Without women like Mary, our ability to access sexual material so easily, to freely make music as I do with the content and imagery I use might still have been illegal too.

Mary Millington will live on forever as the Holy Mother of the Devil's Witches Coven. Worship.  

~Devil’s Witches

If you want more information on Mary Millington then check out Simon Sheridan's book 'Come play with me: The life and films of Mary Millington' and his documentary “Respectable, the Mary Millington Story” [available on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video]. 


Purchase the track “Porno Witch” for only one dollar [GBP] by tapping the Bandcamp player link above as well as checking out other great albums from Devil’s Witches and support the Coven!


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EDITOR’S NOTE: While being aware of Google’s TOS in using adsense [use of pornographic images], I decided to include certain images out of respect for the writer’s theme of the article and the cause that Mary Millington fought so hard and died for. If this causes any offense to the reader, please understand no harm is intended.


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