Bristol Alternative and Burlesque Fair

♦ Last Saturday I, plus Crush and Alt, decided to pop over to Bristol (it’s been too long!) for the Heresy n Heelz Alternative and Burlesque Fair, which also covers fetish and steampunk stuffs. We found our way there, helped in part by my sense of direction, in part by big orange posters on the Bristol Bierkellar and in in part by the staff clearly knowing how to spot one of their own and waving us inside.

There was a bar in front of some seating and a main stage with fetish stalls on the far side of the stage and alternative/burlesque stalls on the near side. I liked that set-up as it meant people who came more for the vanilla side, didn’t have to see collars and cocks if they didn’t want to. I did want to, of course, but we decided to look at the closer stalls first.

There was a lot more variety than I expected: from top hats and dresses to jewellery and knick-knacks. One stall in particular, Madams Pinups, seemed made for me and I happily bought a sexy lady tie and a couple of art prints whilst only just managing not to pick up sexy dishcloths at the same time. Sexy dishcloths! I also bought gothic jewellery from The Dark Attic, a metallic papier maché skull from Jesta Streets and a lovely rockabilly dress.

I was of a mind to pick up a men’s shirt from Rafflesia Designs too. They had one with a lovely subtly-coloured sexy mermaid design, but I baulked at the absolutely extortionate price. Frankly, I just don’t care how much you try to tell me it’s handmade, I’m not paying £60 for one shirt. Such a shame.

My favourite stall of the day, though I didn’t buy anything from it because I’ve no idea where I’d wear it was Beautiful Brastards. Just look at how awesome this is:

Beautiful Brastards

I have to say that for me the fetish side of the stalls was a little personally disappointing. There was a flogger stall, but only one of the floggers interested me and in the end I decided I already have too many I don’t play with enough. One stall sold cheap little colourful candles for wax play, so I bought a blue one to try out. Another sold sex toys and the sorts of kink toys you can get on sex toy sites anyway. And for cheaper.

The only particular stalls of interest fetish-wise were one selling new violet wands, of which Alt bought one that I’m probably going to end up throttling him for (take note, police officers!), and a stall of various discounted kink things. I tried on one of those lovely metal ring collars there, but sadly it was a little too small to fit properly.

I go to fetish fairs not for Fetish Fantasy and LELO, but for handmade kink and small-business smut. It was just a bit lacking.

But the Bristol Alternative and Burlesque Fair wasn’t just stalls, oh no. There were performances too. The two pole dancers were gravity-defying and the burlesque was, on the whole, splendid, if a little devoid of actual stripping. That’s not to say the dancers didn’t, to put it crudely, “get enough out”, but more that they generally started not wearing very much to begin with! I’m used to my burlesque routines going from full outfit to a breeze and a whisper rather than starting fairly skimpy in the first place.

Havana Hurricane’s act was good, but a little generic for my liking. I’m more easily impressed by burlesque with a strong theme, so the other two acts were amazing. First Lou Leigh Blue performed an act called Dystopia.

Lou Leigh Blue - Dystopia

Photo by Fenris Oswin.

You can’t see it here, but there’s a silver BAFTAs-like mask on the back of her head and she at first only “faces” the audience with this, making for a creepy eroticism. It was, in essence, a fan dance with billowing silver wings instead of fans, but I absolutely loved the classic sci-fi look and sound of the performance. Plus, sexy.

Then there was a performance from Angelique Dominique, whose routine looked like this:

Her sexy Blade Runner routine as Pris was very sensual and used sound from the film itself. Again, another piece with an original idea and, I have to say, wonderful geek appeal.

Thankfully, all the acts were very good as the compère was completely abysmal. You could see he was trying to get the crowd more vocal, but sadly his methods consisted of cheap “saucy” humour, being patronising, and displaying a seeming ignorance of informed consent. These sections were, I think, so potentially damaging to the kink scene in terms of impression (given it was a mixed kinky/non-kinky event) and to the concept of consent, that I plan to write a rant. So keep your eyes peeled for that one.

Overall, though, it was a very fun day with good friends and great swag, even though my kinky side was a little disappointed and deprived. Would I recommend the Bristol Alternative and Burlesque Fair? As long as you’re not expecting too much and you can stand the compère, I probably would. I may even go again myself. ♦

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