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Rent Boy

by Jeremy Sandford


Rent boys, living on the streets, long to be holed up in some rich punter’s gaffe. Once there for a while, they begin to hanker for the streets. Their predators are men who practice illegal, under-age, sex.

Our film is shot in the centre of a big city, using actors but based on true stories from the real streets, doorways and underground walkways where young, homeless, teenagers make their homes. We explore areas which are hard to capture in documentary. The range of illegal survival techniques, thieving, selling sex, breaking into buildings for shelter, rolling punters, the sudden eruptions of violence and brief moments of tenderness and camaraderie in those private and often impossibly lit locations where a documentary camera finds it hard to go.

We’ll explore the gradual forming and breaking of relationships between the homeless teenagers with each other and with their pimps and punters, plunging into the world of a group of some 6 street kids.

Shooting at the locations where street kids hang out, we’ll see how some will succeed in this world, some actually escape, and some travel all too quickly towards destruction.

© Jeremy Sandford

All rights asserted

Rent Boy

Petal (25) has found a Rich Punter for Dozy (14). Petal takes Dozy for a haircut and to buy decent clothes. Dozy is half amused, half uneasy. Petal wants him to look really good when he meets the Rich Punter.

Petal is a glamorous ‘woman’ and seductress who introduces youngsters into the wild party scene, while warning them against it. ‘She’ is in fact a man, visually stunning and a nasty bit of work, a former Rent Boy, grown up. She brings Dozy to a party. Exotic surroundings and glue for sniffing and drugs for popping. Dozy is seduced by the rich punter. It’s not his first seduction.

Dozy arranges to meet the rich punter later.

Discussion of the role of buggery in our better public schools in creating empire building type characteristics and stabilising character!

We will follow Dozy through alternating sequences of the expensive world to which he is introduced by Petal, and of the discomfort of life back on the street.

Dozy is trying to get a shower, trying to get into a day centre, stealing clothes from punters, and alternatively having his own clothes stolen. An encounter in a public toilet. The kids discuss AIDS, and share jokes; ‘They used to say masturbation was bad for you. Now it could save your life’, and ‘Facing up to AIDS could change your position.’

One subject discussed is ‘At what fucking age do you fucking get the right to sell you own fucking body? At what fucking age does society stand fucking back and say, “we may fucking disapprove, but we have not got no fucking right to fucking interfere”.

In a bank. Peregrine, the Rich Punter (54), is opening up an account for Dozy with £500 in it. In Harrods, Peregrine stands by as Dozy is measured for a suit. Peregrine buys off the peg clothes ‘to keep you going till the suit is ready.’ He tells him, ‘You’re not a rent boy. You’re a protegée.’

Peregrine reads Shakespeare sonnets to Dozy.

The Rich Punter says, ‘Never change, always be like you are, don’t let them spoil you.’ He is part of the upper crust patronising set who are intrigued by what they see as Dozy’s proletarian innocence. It’s nonsense, of course, because it’s inevitable that Dozy will one day grow up.

Is their own youth the element the rich punters like Peregrine are seeking? The lineaments of their first sexual experience when they were in the first flush of youth? Their own youth and beauty before they became corrupted?

Dozy says to Peregrine, ‘It’s exciting, I like the idea that some guy loves my body so much that he’s prepared to pay for it. You get hooked. Your adrenalin gets going on it.’

The Rich Punter, is both hurt and titivated by this.

In the Rich Punter’s bed. Lunchtime. ‘I still want you, it’s nothing to do with that, but can you nip into town this afternoon for me?’ asks the Rich Punter. ‘Pick up something nice and bring it back to dinner.’

‘Yes, what sort of thing?’

‘What about that - what was he - Weazel? Rabbit?’

‘Oh - Rabbit - alright. Can I take the car?’

‘Yes, if you want.’

Dozy is heading for the centre of town in the back of the Rolls, driven by a deadpan chauffeur.

The search for Rabbit. Very sleazy. Asking around a church crypt.

On the way back with Rabbit. Explaining what the Rich Punter wants. Having it off with Rabbit in the back of the car.

The Rich Punter likes rough trade.

They rough him up a little and he’s asking for more.

Dozy takes off his studded belt and lays into him. When he’s satisfied, the Rich Punter collapses into a bath, or bed, and the boys have each other.

At a party, some sophisticated gay guys describing the scene in Tangiers where naked boys come running after lunch for them to choose from.

Dozy says; ‘All those riches! I’m beginning to get used to them now, but to start with it blows your mind. In the beginning I had to have gold. Gold cuff-links, gold sovereigns, gold watch, even gold braces attachments.’

‘And in them days it was all G and T with ice and slice and I wanted to wear my new clothes all the time, and always when I could, even going down the road to the pub, take the chauffeur and the Rolls.’

‘Later you return to your old habits. You like to walk again and wear jeans once in a while and have a pint and a proper gossip. Gossip travels quickly and gets embellished as it goes round the streets.’

Beneath Dozy’s youthful devil-may-care attitude, there is an unspoken terror. Standing in front of the blazing lights of the city centre, he says; ‘I like drugs. I’ll take anything. Any kind of drug. Because it buzzes. It’s crazy, mental. I know that gas [i.e. sniffing lighter fluid] kills your brain cells, but I’ve forgotten what it’s like now to watch telly, sitting on a nice settee. On the street, there’s no TV. But, with gas, in your head you can watch your own TV.’

On an afternoon off Dozy and other rent boys discuss what sort of personality punters like in a rent boy and how to project it.

Meeting another ‘protegée’ the morning after a party.

Boasting to each other; ‘We have a Dachshund and a Prince Charles and a chauffeur and cook who both live in their own flats.’

‘Yes, but this geezer, he really loves me. I walked out on him once for three months. When I got back there was a young stallion living there. I got him out in three days flat.’

An attempt by a friend of the Rich Punter to steal Dozy.

‘Seeing as I’m bored with Tristan, thinking of getting rid of him, do you fancy moving in?’

‘Well, I’m with Perry, ain’t I?’

‘Yeah, but this is it. Does he see you alright?’

‘I’m not complaining.’

‘That’s the point. You may be living alright at the moment but what about later? Has he provided for your future?’

‘He looks after me alright.’

‘I could look after you better. How much does he give you a week?’

‘He told me not to say.’

‘Name a sum. Just name it and I’ll double it. I’ll open a bank account for you.’

‘He’s already done that.’

The Rich Punter has a son the same age as Dozy. He takes Dozy back to see his own public school.

The Rich Punter has fallen in love with Dozy.

Dozy is getting more sophisticated. ‘People thought I was a little effeminate rent boy until I told one of my mates about a bondage scene I’d been in. It hadn’t been much but the gossip exaggerated it, blew it up out of all proportion, you know, “She’s into very heavy bondage, really kinky and seedy”. And people would say to me, “Did you really do that with the chain mail and motor oil? Hang on, it sounds erotic. Can you show us how?” Bondage can be clean, it can just be clean good sex.’

There comes the day that Dozy has a confession to make to the Rich Punter; ‘It’s not that I don’t fancy you, it’s not that we don’t have fun together. But I want to be ordinary as well. Have an ordinary girlfriend and that.’

‘Have you got someone in mind?’

‘No - nobody.’

Dozy stays around.

A friend of Dozy’s going rapidly downhill with drugs - he, like Dozy used to, has got ‘television in his head’.

Dozy’s mother appears on the streets, looking for him.

Dozy avoids her.

The Rich Punter comes to see Petal, very distressed, explains that Dozy walked out this morning. He loves him. ‘This time it’s for real.’ Where did he go? Can Petal find him?

Petal delegates to Ferret. Ferret searches for Dozy through his usual haunts on the streets.

Dozy is getting older. He’s beginning to service women.

Dozy; ‘I like sex. I never met anyone who liked sex as much as I do.’

Woman; ‘I’m giving your number to a friend of mine who’s looking for an escort tomorrow night.’

Dozy; ‘Will I see you again?’

‘Unlikely. I’ve got my fiancée coming back tomorrow.’

Dozy won’t admit that he’s not happy with what he’s doing. He’s turning to glue, lighter fuel, pills, to help him to get through it.

Dozy joins other young people, and dossers, sleeping under a bridge. Dozy’s view is that he’ll always survive. ‘There’ll always be a doorway somewhere or a grating with heat coming up through it.’ They are cleared away by the ‘Bizzies’.

An older woman, with legs encased in bandages and pus, passes by, calling out cheerily to older dossers, pushing her way forward behind a supermarket trolley.

Dozy is getting older. He’s approached by a good looking punter, in a stylish motor. It turns out that it’s Dozy’s fur coat, rather than his body, that the punter is after. Hiding his disappointment, Dozy sells his coat for £100.

Sitting with friends back on the street. Rain belting down.

‘It’s not much.’

‘It’s alright.’

‘I reckon it’s not alright.’

‘We’ve got our pride.’

Dozy matures as a person when he stretches out a helping hand to the older lady whose legs are entirely encased in bandages and pus. It is the first unselfish act of his life and, just possibly, may be his salvation.

Some of the kids on the street

Dozy (14) Cheeky, too ‘pretty’ for his own good, early on learned that he could sell his body in exchange for a bed for the night. His life is an alternation between posh flats and sleeping in shop doorways. We’ll meet his middle-class mother, who is desperately searching for him, and learn more of the tragedy that brought him here.

Petal (25) Flamboyant, drug fuelled pimp. When he lost his own youthful appearance, he discovered he could still get by, providing young lads for rent. His friendship may even be sincere, but he inevitably corrupts the young boys.

Bri A busker.

Brer Who lives by begging.

Bru Bright and gregarious, at first sight he would not be out of place on a University campus. He starts on a downward path into the world of pills.

Diane Just newly arrived on the scene and still bright-eyed about life on the streets. We will see how her youthful optimism is shattered and is replaced by a more calculating resourcefulness and street wisdom.

Dave A thief.

Kev On the run from the psychiatric hospital in which he was sectioned. The doctor told him it was essential he has a weekly injection. That was 6 weeks ago.

Billy An Irish lad. If he had stayed on in Belfast, he would have been knee-capped.

Lisa Since the age of 13, she was run by a Birmingham pimp from whom she would often escape to put herself back into care, only to be drawn back into that life. Now that she is too old to be in care, she’s on the street.

The story of Dozy and the other lads in his world is set against the backdrop of current public attitudes towards vagrancy and the massive redevelopment of our inner cities, where whole streets are being swept clean of the homeless, but not the problems of homelessness.


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