I last went to Erotica three years ago, and although I went for a different reason this time around (to socialise, rather then genuine interest in the event), I probably wouldn't have gone if I hadn't won tickets for all three days from Bondara. Along I went, anyway, and I was (in many cases) pleased I went, despite still not having much of a genuine interest in the stuff displayed.
One thing I did enjoy at Erotica was the presence of a stall for the authors and editors of Smutters fiction, and related stuff. Here, I felt at ease - what with people I've met enough times before (including Lucy Felthouse, who was nice enough to mention the fact that I give good hugs; apparently, I do!) and a wealthy collection of erotic fiction I've had contact with, through virtue of my owning a couple of the books, having read one or two and a story by my girlfriend being featured in one of them (she signed it, too!).
The rest of the exhibition was a bit bland for me - I wasn't too interested in the collection of stuff available for fetishist folk, although I appreciated it for what it was; unlike last time, I didn't see any of the shows, because the venues were too crowded for me to see anything; I couldn't afford much (but still bought a trial subscription to a geeky porn website and, erm, a potato); and even though I'm genuinely unshockable in many cases, some of the stalls weren't really to my taste.
Leather, for example.
Having said that, I am glad I went, indeed: I got to reconnect with the lovely Emma Whispers, the effervescent Annie and Stu, and the mighty mighty Cara Sutra, amongst others. And - this has to be said - I really liked the venue. A disused tobacco dock, retaining its olde-worlde feel while being used for modern purposes. Seems weird, but it really seemed to work, and the bits that didn't have stalls in (some subterranean tunnels, for example) were very atmospheric. Impressive - and a better place to hold Erotica than the Kensington Olympia, which seemed even more corporate.
So, yes. I went to Erotica. It was okay. I'd have appreciated, of course, more (some? any?) focus on softcore (there wasn't any, again, and it's definitely relevant enough to warrant at least one company!), but my hopes for that weren't particularly high... although that didn't stop me putting it into the suggestion box. I hear that next year they are doing it twice. Will I go? Maybe. It all depends, of course. But at least I had fun this time.
I've still got a ticket for tomorrow. Any takers?