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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. ♦

Things to Wear – NaPoWriMo

♦ So, NaPoWriMo, the National Poetry Writing Month, is still going strong. And so am I! Since my first batch of poems and my second, I’ve been doggy paddling like mad to keep up, but it’s certainly working! Just about. I’m only three poems down from what I should be, at least. Here are poems 9-14 of my month…

The Absence of Your Skin

Gloves at once removed
Feeling greedily flows back
Like pins and needles

In Praise of Cinched Waists

Constricted, conflicted
Restricted, I predicted
That I could only endure the garment for so long
But as soon as the damn thing was off I would long
To be confined, defined
In refined, satin-lined
Corsets, their bones of unyielding steel
Their lacing tautening as I feel
Pinched, clenched
Squeezed and tense
Shored up, whored out
Sealed away, but on display
Made dainty, made sound
Made captured and bound

Of Corsets Showbiz

There was a young girl with a belly
Who said, “It just wobbles like jelly.
But with a corset, of course,
And control panel shorts,
I can look like they do on the telly.”


Hush, hush, the shifting
Of nylon between my thighs
Whispering, hush, hush

On Wearing Silly Knickers

Fancy lingerie
Sliding down my rounded hips
Thrill of exposure


The shine, the sheen
So bright, so clean
The hug and caress
Of each curve as you dress
That marvellous material

I based this little lot on sexy things to wear, inspired by my tight corset-wearing session at the weekend that left me feeling poetic and erotic. Of Corsets Showbiz (say it aloud) is a somewhat satirical take on corsetry and body image and the media, but In Praise of Corsets is straight from the (slightly squeezed) heart.

Hosiery is a haiku about the hushing swish of tights, On Wearing Silly Knickers is about that feeling of exhibitionism and sexy precariousness that comes from wearing lingerie, even when it’s well-hidden. The Absence of Your Skin is about how gloves boost your sense of touch due to dulling it while they’re on. And Shiny is an ode to latex.

Which is your favourite poem? Does it match up with your favourite sexy thing to wear? ♦

Wicked Wednesday

Miss Mint

♦ I’ve been spending my last few sessions of playing Dungeons & Dragons drawing things and colouring in on the side. The drawing below is one of those things and I’m actually pretty proud of it. I based the pose off a pose in a photograph on the Internet (possibly of Dita von Teese? I don’t recall) because there is no way I’m good enough at anatomy to draw it without reference. I invented frilly French knickers and the glamorous trappings of burlesque or the boudoir: long opera gloves, a corset with a pinched waist, stockings and heels…

I ummed and ahhed about what colours to use, even asking Twitter for help, but in the end a friend suggested turquoise and I ran with it. It came out as more of a mint with touches of jade, but I like it. Click the image to see the full-sized version, because the mini one really doesn’t do it justice… and do let me know what you think!

You can see more of my filthy drawings (and photographs!) here. ♦

Erotica 2011


♦ This year, Crush and I decided to go to Erotica, Britain’s premier erotica show and exhibition, because I was keen and he is adorable. It was a bit of a bugger to sort out since we needed to get train tickets ASAP to keep it cheap, but the schedule for the event didn’t go up until late, so we didn’t even know what the shows would be, let alone when, and had to guess when’d be best to be there. That was a pain.

Once there and after a quick bag check (apparently Crush had ignored my instructions to “travel light” to the extent that they thought he might be smuggling in flyers), we were through the huge doors into the red-carpeted hall itself. The stalls started promisingly with some awesome bondage furniture, including one restraint chair that looked like a scorpion, and some great spanking chairs. There were some lovely metal spreaders and yokes that looked great but would have been totally impractical to take home on the train. There was even an incredible little rocking stool you knelt on that thrust a dildo upwards when you rocked. Sadly, we couldn’t really lug any of these around with us.

Then came a couple of stalls of cuffs and floggers and collars and crops and the like, which were interesting to browse but had nothing that caught my eye. Then the clothes. Oh, the clothes. From here on it’s harder to give an account of the vague order we took in our browsing because it all became a sea of clothes, a repetitive ocean in which I can only remember the notably different islands of interest.

Sure, I like clothes. I like what I somewhat jokingly have named “whorewear”. You know, a nice collective term for sexy and sexual clothing, whether burlesque, lingerie, stripperific, fetish, whatever. But, being overweight, none of the clothing stands appealed to me because I knew there was such a slim chance that anything would fit me. I did look for any sign of a plus size range, but found none and I was not going to trawl through rack after rack of gorgeous clothes just to end up disappointed and depressed. There wasn’t even any point me buying a corset since I’m not going to spend a bunch of money on something that ideally won’t fit well in a few months time, what with my diet.

That was the main problem with Erotica 2011 for me: the emphasis on clothes and therefore the lack of variety. I had expected a lot more weird and wonderful toys and fetish stuff and things like that. I would have loved it if Lovehoney or SexToysUK had had a stand there. I would have adored it if there had been some manufacturers there (although I know a number of them are overseas, so that might be unlikely). In fact, there weren’t many toys to begin with and when we did find some they were completely awful and nasty. The show guide said that the Erotica Toy Fair stall would have the We Vibe and a Lelo range and so on, but actually contained jelly monstrosities, cheap porn tie-ins (see “jelly monstrosities”) and too many things with the word “dong” written on them (see “jelly monstrosities”). Ugh.

As for unusual toys, there were only a few. At the innovative Little Rooster snorgasm alarm clock stall we spoke to its creator, a lovely and passionate man who was wonderful in that he could tell we didn’t want to buy one straight away but were just curious and so didn’t try to pressure us in the least. Instead, he answered our questions, gave us a flyer and was very courteous. I loved his approach, because nothing sends me running quicker than being hustled and you could tell he was really into his creation. There was also an intriguing but somewhat intimidating stand selling stone dildos.

We went to the Tgirl Bar (which I thought was treated somewhat insensitively in the show guide), but they didn’t have any cider and I wasn’t going to pay £4 for a Corona, whether it came with a free cropping or not. I know they had a job to do, but it seems sad that they basically ignored us if we didn’t want a drink. We squeezed some gorgeous fake breasts being worn at one stall, drank some strange shots at another and at the end of the day our purchases came to a rather measly three items: a rubber choker with a blue ‘gem’ for me, a huge red velvet dragon toy with poseable wings I bought for Crush and a seven-wheel Wartenberg wheel, which is awfully fun.

One thing that really did make the whole thing worth it, though: the shows that we saw! No, not the main stage’s Dance Seduction, which, apart from the pretty hot man-on-man tango, was pretty tame and rather boring, it was the Torture Garden Cabaret stage that really made it for us.

First up, after the rather hit-and-miss compère, an amazing part belly dance, part swordplay, part insane demonstration of muscle control by Leah Debrincat, who looks like this:

And dances like this:

She was erotic and insanely, insanely good.  Please do go and watch another video of her here, because it shows off her muscle control much better than my short clip. I honestly think she might be a (Reg Shoe style) zombie or a robot, because how else is she that in control of bits of her body I couldn’t even wiggle?

Next was the equally in control and erotic Hamish McCann, a male pole dancer with a body type I usually don’t find attractive, but who was incredibly hot thanks to his awesome pole skills and charm:

Yes, the “what the -?” that you can hear is me. Again, check out another video of him, this time Lost Beau‘s, here, because she took a better and longer video than I did. He was brilliant (and again probably from outer space or something) and it helped that he totally played to my tastes with the fedora and waistcoat as well as the Muse song, which I love.

The cabaret also included burlesque dancer Polly Rae doing a wonderful song and fan dance (my first proper fan dance!), androgynous dancer Karis Wilde doing unicorn-based hula hooping (which I also took a video of – longer, because a friend of mine would love it) and incredibly weird Chrisalys Circus dressed as a pig in a latex apron and being generally strange. Yeah.

They were all amazing and very worth watching (even the freaky pig guy) and they really made Erotica 2011 for me. Without them, I think it wouldn’t have been worth going. So, should you go next year? Maybe. There were several comments from various people that it had gone downhill this year, maybe they’ll listen and pick up the pace. But in general I think it depends on whether you can leave booking tickets late enough to know what the acts are and when you can see them and on whether you’re going to be very interested in huge amounts of whorewear and not a lot else, unless the traders change significantly by 2012. It was fun, but I wanted more variety. ♦

Festive Your Eyes Again

♦ Well, last year I gave you some festive saucy pictures, but the very next day you…. no, wait, that’s a terrible reference. In any case, this year, to save you from…wait, I mean this year here are some more. Phew. Just about got through that without incident :P

I’m going to be enjoying myself at a Christmas burlesque this year before spending the period with friends and family. Should be great.

In any case, hope they warm you up on a cold winter night. A very merry Christmas to you all and I hope you have a great New year too! ♦

Lap Dancing

♦ This whole business about lap dancing clubs is really getting my goat. Not heard about it? Go check it out, it’s yet another example of people, and not just the government this time, sticking their noses where they firmly do not belong.

To sum up, groups of ‘concerned residents’ (read: busybodies) over the country, mostly local councillors and the like, have decided that harmless ole lap dancers are far too much of a bane to society to be allowed to just set up willy nilly. Currently, lap dancing clubs follow the same regulations as pubs and clubs but these guys say that’s not enough, they should be classed as ‘sexual encounter’ venues and put in the same categories as peep shows. Labour has accordingly jumped on the bandwagon (remember the days when they weren’t the same as the Tories? Only just) and tried to make it so.

So far so harmless, right? Yes and no.

I do agree, lap dancing clubs are much more like peep shows than they are like pubs and cafés. However, my biggest problem with the whole affair is the wobbly and sickening ‘reasoning’ behind this call for change. Simply put, those calling for reclassification are doing so simply because they have one of two personal problems with lap dancing: prudish moralising or sexist moralising.

The Prudes

Apparently, disapproval is all that it takes for something to need to be made law. Tory Gerry Sutcliffe says “our towns and cities should be shaped as far as possible according to residents’ wishes, not by the presence of unwanted lap-dancing clubs in the heart of them”.

Rubbish. Clearly this is only a vocal minority who ‘wish’ to be rid of such clubs. Businesses don’t open for no reason, they open because they see potential demand for what they offer. Lap dancing clubs are no different. They open, and if they don’t get enough customers, if there is no demand, if, in short, they are unwanted, then they don’t get enough money to operate and they close. ‘Nuff said.

The residents also oppose on other grounds. I mean, there are schools and libraries nearby! Won’t somebody please think of the children!

Oh, please. As if they’re really going to build it right next to the school. There are just schools in the area. So what? There are schools in the area of much more objectionable things (like, say, local councils :P) than establishments they wouldn’t even be allowed into anyway. Children shouldn’t be seeing lap dancing, no, but they shouldn’t be drinking in pubs either and no one causes a ruckus about those in the area.

And even if they did build one opposite a school, so what? Can someone please tell me how that would be a problem?

Crime and other detriments to the area are also concerns:

“”My main concern is what it’s going to do to the area,” says one. “How can they stop drug users and prostitutes from coming here?” asks another. “Of course the industry’s linked to human trafficking,” declares a further voice.”

Of course, porn leads to paedophilia, you know. And, of course, it’s all gone down hill since we let the darkies in. And, of course, Hitler was right.

Besides which, the police actually think that there’s no evidence whatsoever of any link between lap dancing and crime, saying that they “tend to be fairly well-run, they tend to have a fairly high staff ratio to customers, the people who tend to go there tend to be a bit older, so they don’t tend to drink so excessively and cause… problems outside”.

Huh. You’d think the police would know more about crime than your average Joe, right?

The stupidest thing is that the ‘only’ grounds on which people can object to these clubs at the moment are these: protection of children from harm, prevention of crime and disorder, public safety and prevention of public nuisance. Which, apart from the laughable and yet disgusting ‘reason’ that they just don’t approve, covers every single point they’re complaining about. Hmm, looks like the law covers everything reasonable after all.

One of my favourite lines is this one: “While anxious to stress they are not prudes, this group of concerned residents believes lap dancing is not appropriate for their back yard”. Ohhh! They’re not prudes, they’re just NIMBYs! Yaaay! Everyone loves those!

Okay, so you don’t want lap dancing in your backyard? Well, I don’t want narrowminded cunts in mine, but I never asked for a law. But maybe that’s because I’m the kind of the sensible person that doesn’t want to ban everything they don’t like. Neil Gaiman has a very good, but very long, post about this, incidentally.

Essentially, will someone please tell me what is wrong with lap dancing clubs besides that these people don’t approve? One Kensington resident says that she doesn’t feel it’s an appropriate area “for a place where sexual gratification is classified as entertainment…The whole point is for the men to get excited”

My house is a place where sexual gratification is classified as entertainment. Largely because it is. Well, I find it pretty entertaining, don’t you? So people get turned on (and not just men, I might add), what’s the problem? Not prudes, my ass.

If you don’t like lap dancing clubs don’t go in them, simple as that. Just like I don’t go to local council meetings. Or the Houses of Parliament.

The Sexists

Hey, look! A bandwagon! Let’s jump on it!

Yes, our dear friends the rabid feminists are back. Hurrah! I have to say I do take a perverse joy in calling them sexists, not only because it’s true but also because they actually think it’s sexism they’re fighting. Silly catface.

Apparently lap dancing is somehow hideously degrading and misogynistic to everyone ever. Yes, certainly there can be no-one who actually gets a positive experience from showing off their body to a paying audience, stripping and jiggling about. And especially there aren’t any people who do it for fun.

Of course,  no one’s given any decent reasons for exactly why lap dancing is apparently sexist and degrading. According to one woman at the Fawcett Society (one of the two feminist groups raising a fuss over this), the clubs “fuel a sexist culture of treating women as sex objects. Areas surrounding lap dance clubs can become ‘no-go’ areas for women.”

Really? Darn it, if the areas around the clubs are no-go for women how am I supposed to get in and see some titty? But in all seriousness (though I really would be interested in seeing some bare lady-flesh, come and get me feminists, tell me the patriarchy dunnit, I dare you), how exactly would they be no-go? Sorry lady, but you really can’t pass off a sentence like that as common truth without a leeetle bit of back-up.

Besides, I know I’ve covered this ‘women as sex-objects’ thing before, but it bears repeating. People objectify others every day. As Fractal has said on this blog before:

“And more to the point why is objectification problematic as long as that’s not the end of it? If Blacksilk doesn’t objectify me in the least, for example with fantasies and thoughts, then we have a problem in our relationship. It’s treating someone as means to ends. There’s no inherent problem with that attitude (you treat shopkeepers that way every time you buy from them) as long as they’re not purely treated that way.

Seeing someone as an object of sexualisation is no issue, seeing them as only that is.”

And quite so. People sexualise other people, it’s how desire works. The casual one night stand would be lost without it. Thinking of someone as a sexual object is fine, you don’t need to put emotions into it, as long as when all’s said and done you realise there’s a person behind the boobs/cock. And I think feminists are going to have a hard time convincingly stating that most don’t do this. Go on, try me.

The comments about this news item are pretty varied when it comes to whether this stuff is sexist.

Joanna says: “I’ll just ignore the fact this is yet another example of the mainstreaming of porn in our culture, where girls see writhing round a pole so men can judge their breasts as “empowering”.” This comment alone is pretty poorly thought out. Where does the mainstreaming of porn come into it? In fact, show me there’s a mainstreaming of porn at all. I’m not definitively saying there isn’t, I’m just saying give me some ‘evidence’. Then I’ll tell you there isn’t.

What really gets me about this comment is the way she attacks women displaying their bodies for calling it ’empowering’. This kind of thing always irritates me. The women who say they’re all for protecting women, for the rights of women, for the ’empowering’ of women and then go on to attack women who make choices they disagree with. Yes, some women, as I mentioned earlier, do find ’empowerment’ from showing themselves off, often to men. Some even get off on it. Let them. Who are you to say they shouldn’t? Or worse, to suggest that the choice was made for them, unconsciously against their will, by society or porn or men or what have you.

Besides which, as Ed comments on the same link:  “if the money they earn in these clubs is exploitation then I’ll gladly be exploited as well.”

Lap dancing is not some evil badness. It’s not sexism, it’s not moral decay. The councillors can’t complain just because it’s in their back yard and they disapprove, and the feminists can’t complain just because it’s in their gender and they disapprove.

At the end of the day no one has yet come up with anything convincing, or even anything remotely backed up by reasoning, as an argument to why lap dancing clubs are awful and make baby Jesus cry. If the law changes because of any of this weak-ass stuff, then Optimus Prime help us all…

What the Butler Saw

Kiss Me Quick

♦ So, I’ve promised to tell you about the burlesque show we went to. I can’t say it’ll make as riveting reading as it did viewing, but what the heck. First of all I should say we had immense fun. It was a really great evening.

The event is a fairly regular one in Cardiff called What the Butler Saw, do check it out if you’re a local. Its held in one of two bars in the city, an artsy cafe/bar or a drag club. This was the bar and it was very cool looking. The staff were very ace. And furthermore they sold toffee apple flavoured Brothers cider, which I didn’t even know existed and is amazing. And does taste like toffee apples too.

The music was excellent, proper 20s and 30s swing and jazz by the brilliant, funny and downright dirty Top Shelf Jazz. Swearing sounds great in a rum BBC World Service accent. I loved the songs, Nagasaki, Puttin’ on the Ritz, Istanbul (Not Constantinople), good stuff.

Anyway, we saw three very good burlesque performers, two amateurs and a professional. The first was prison-based and rocky, the second did a half-funny half-sexy, fairly coy and glittery strip to a couple of songs with a sort of fox hunting theme (trust me, it worked) and the third was, well, a bit too twee for me. The only really good bit was when she shook a shower of snowflakes out by shaking her two cardboard snowflake-shaped fans.

I thought the two amateurs were actually a good deal better than the professional actually.

It was great fun to watch and they were all very sexy, leaving me tingling in a few places at certain parts of their shows. There’s something very thrilling and refreshing, too, about seeing a girl get slowly more naked on stage not five feet away from you. Nakedness in the flesh.

I have a little confession to make. I have 2,952 images (and counting) in the ‘Sexy’ folder on my hard drive.

Yikes. That’s nearly three thousand. So, you can imagine I’ve seen a fair amount of still, digitised naked flesh. And naughtier bits than you get even at burlesque. But it doesn’t quite compare to the 3D version. The version you know would feel like skin if you reached out and touched it. And that’s quite something.

Sure, so I’ve actually fondled the actual naked naughty bits of an actual woman, but even so there’s something a little risqué about watching burlesque. Perhaps it’s the dash of voyeurism.

Fractal admitted he’d very much enjoy seeing me up on the stage, a sort of exhibitionism by proxy, I suppose. I have to say that I’d enjoy it too, especially given I’ve found I actually can wiggle my hips much better than I thought. Perhaps if I shape up a bit I may try it one day. I’d really like that.

Til then I’ll restrict myself to watching and I have to say I’ll be back. The evening was brilliant and I’m definitely going to take every opportunity to go again. Like the much-missed CCK it was great to be in a room in which you could actually feel the atmosphere of…it’s hard to describe… but sexual openness, perhaps, or maybe sexual tension? It’s a feeling I sometimes pick up on in banter with my main group of (predominantly male) friends actually.

This warrants further investigation… ♦

Feast Your Eyes – Hallowe’en

♦ Well, unfortunately my plans for Hallowe’en to go and see burlesque were cancelled last minute, but I plan to write a post about the last burlesque I went to (which was also my first) and instead of any of my own Hallowe’eny experiences I’ve decided to bring you a few spooky pictures instead. What do you mean ‘cop out’? :P

Hope you enjoy! ♦

Sleight of Hand

♦ I’m not cleverly distracting you from the fact that this should be a real, proper post about real, proper sex, honest! But look! A pretty lady! Taking off her clothes!

I’m not a Yank, but I assume this programme is basically like X Factor only with other stuff besides singing. Not that I watch that either, blurgh! But I would if it had acts like this!

So, this very lovely looking lady is Michelle L’Amour. A burlesque dancer from Chicago. And I now have several pictures of her in various states of undress on my computer. I would. A fact which my dear Fractal is very pleased with. He thinks she’s got a helluva body too.

I love the routine. It’s not exactly traditional, but it’s very sexy. She’s pretty, the costume is pretty, the moves are sexy, and the whole thing is fun and teasing. Just ignore the stupid judge bint at the end. Frigid cow. ♦