My name is Addy and I'm a Flickrholic. I'm a window-licking voyeuse who's been pressing her nose up against the cold glass of the lives of utter strangers, snooping through their photostreams. And if you think I'm weird, take a peep through their curtains. Marvel at Polymorfo Perverso's rather delicious fetish portraits (one caption reads "your neck is so much fun") or Gizmodo's favourite tough man as meat-market mascot. If you're a Flickr snoopr like me, you know the giddy, naughty pleasure of it all. If you're not one, well, here's how to become one in a hurry.
The beauty of Flickr is its serendipity. I found Mr Perverso's oh-so-perverse materials by innocently typing "I love Jesus" into the search box. Usually I'm on the hunt for stuff at work such as "Treo unboxing," "broken iPhone" or "computer dungeon," which gets you some guy's basement server farm, screenshots of PC-based RPGs, and, for some reason, a shot of a dude's first computer, an Atari 800. But "dungeon", all by itself, gets you into much more trouble: French châteaux, a shackles-and-rubber-gasmask outfit attached to a cross, a girl in stripy socks and a picture that is so NSFW I will only tell you that the person whose stream it is has a blog devoted to the art of the blow-job.
The crazy thing is that, unlike some photo sites, Flickr uploads are public and searchable. Why are people so interested in sharing their most tender or outrageous or embarrassing moments with the world? My theory is that beyond friends-n-family photo sharing, many people on Flickr are amateur photographers and artists who want to show off what they can do, but beyond that there are the crazy cakes just dying to have themselves a bunch of virtual friends who will write a testimony like "April-May's deep-throat technique just has to be seen to be believed." And what keeps me coming back is that it's always changing. A search from one day to the next can yield totally different results.
Here are some quick fun tag safaris to illustrate the point:
• Space Pants or, better still, Spacepants
• Repossession - Note the Jude Law cameo
• Disco Biscuit
• Junk In the Trunk
I get a tingly sensation looking into the private lives of random people. Sure it's mostly mundane stuff—weddings, parties, vacations—but on occasions you can get a sudden rush of tenderness mixed with guilt, like when stumbling on these secret stolen moments of a couple of strangers at Glasto.
There's a knack to celebrity stalking on Flickr. Direct searches turn up eclectic results. Bill Gates brings up pictures of bananas, a subway escalator—even windows as opposed to Windows—before fielding a couple of shots of the actual software baron with Michael Arrington, with Steve and Walt, and, heh, with an iPhone. There was nothing at all interesting for either Clooney or Madonna. Hayden Panettiere turned up a few shots of the saved cheerleader licking things, if you're into that sort of stuff. Looking for particular celebs, it seems, is a waste of time; you've got to cast a wider net (like using the actual word "celebrity" in a search") and just see which A-Listers (or B-Listers or C-Listers) get caught.
All of sleb life is here, from A(niston) to (Jay-)Z. Look! It's Tara Reid and Tommy Lee hanging out in a bar. What they might lack in make-up they sure make up for in drunkenness. Here's a giant, beige John Goodman queuing up for some bar-b-que. It's Twisted Sister's Dee Snyder actually looking cool, and Keanu Reeves actually looking irritated. Kirk Hammet from Metallica seems to have taken the time and effort to have his shirt match the shopfront he was photographed outside of. Here's a great back-of-the-head shot of Paris Hilton and a wax model of Lady Di that I thought was a tranny lookalike.
You can actually play games with Flickr as well. Rather than going on individual tag safaris like the ones above, you can embark on a sort of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: How far can you get from one subject in six moves? I started off with Porkins, going via POTUS, Pewkus, Poker and Bummer before ending up back in Star Wars country (sort of), at Clones.
I've made some peculiar discoveries. For one, Konaboy, whose Spring Clean picture cropped up in about 60% of my searches, seems to be Flickr's Kevin Bacon. Another, Pisces Romance, showed me how to say "I wuv woo" with roses and sunsets. Best of all (especially Jesus), I found a recently-uploaded pic of—I'm guessing here—the upcoming series of Flight of the Conchords. It's Brett and Jermaine in roller-disco mood. Because, my little friends, on Flickr, it's always Business Time.