Saturday, 31 March 2018

Ten Things I Got Out Of Eroticon 2018 (The Human Beings Edition)

It's taken me a while to even think about having the spoons to write a post of this magnitude. Unlike last year, when I wrote a huge post of gratitude, this time around I'm trying the 'ten things' listicle trope, for a number of reasons. One - it's easier; two - it's quicker; three - who doesn't love a good listicle?

It's also taken me a few tries to get this one right. My initial attempt resulted in paragraphs that were far too long and had no real point. I realised, after a while, that I was trying to mention too many people in every sentence. It didn't make for a particularly good read, and was becoming more of a link farm than anything else.

But I had a point.

It may be fair to say that the sex blogging community isn't what it used to be; there are faces missing and so many new ones it's difficult to keep up, and there's a vague, slightly élitist undercurrent that is a little too detectable for my liking. This year, for the first time, I could even say there was a presence at 'con that I actively disliked - although the event, as usual, was great - and I just had to choose the people I talked to with a little more care than I'd like to.

I usually talk to everyone...

In any case, whatever's happening, Eroticon is still all about the community for me. The event works because it brings everyone together, and as a result of missing a few sessions, I was even more grateful for the chance I did get to spend with people I love.

So, in no particular order, ten people I loved from Eroticon 2018 are:

01. Rose Monrou
In any event with numerous people attending, I've always felt that it helps to have at least one person that you know you'll be comfortable with. If this person is someone you have known for years - including going on trips, attending events, and even losing at Mario Kart: Double Dash!! to - who is always solidly, dependably present, then that is very much someone to be treasured.
So step forward, Rose - everyone's favourite tall crazy redhead, and from my experience, an excellent person to toast at drinks, have breakfast with... and swap tissues, as we were both very sick.

02. Nick
Yes, it's a community event, but Eroticon is - essentially - a series of talks and workshops, and there were some amazing ones this year (which I'll talk about later...). Having someone volunteer to stand at the door to provide security, advice and keep a general eye on the proceedings without attending any of the talks is positively Herculean.
Nick doesn't get anywhere near as much recognition for what he does, and I'm acknowledging him here for that very reason!

03. Emmeline Peaches
I have vivid memories of meeting Emmeline for the first time (in Camden, oddly enough!). I wasn't sure what to expect, but as it turned out, she was a geek, an animal lover and an excellent conversationalist. The words flowed freely, and I couldn't wait to see her again at Eroticon 2017 - which I did. I have missed her, and it was great fun to see her again during Eroticon 2018, whether exchanging pleasantries over drinks or whispered jokes in the back row of a session. I don't think I spent enough time with her this year, but I meant what I said - she is a good friend to have her around.
I'm a bit annoyed that I missed her session, though...!

04. Jadis (from Tits and Test Tubes)
Jadis' presence was, frankly, a surprise. I've been enjoying her content, but as a fairly nascent blogger - and a student, at that - I wouldn't be imagining her attendance in a million years. Yet here she was, bold as brass, incredibly open about who she was and what she was into, completely unapologetic, bombastic, and adorably excited by the MysteryVibe table (Jadis, if you're reading this, do try the Crescendo if you can - it's an experience!). She was a breath of fresh air, and that's the sort of thing I love.

05. Michael Knight
Livetweeting has been a part of the 'con experience since the very first one in 2012, and if there's one thing that makes it worthwhile, it's the quickfire jokes that ping back and forth as we convene and the trend-shifting #Eroticon hashtag that we can all use as a handy lynchpin.
It helped, then, that there were smooth, scrolling Wallrus screens, broadcasting our messages, pictures and groan-inducing puns for all attendees to see. It worked last year, but it was even better this year... and if the conversation with Michael is anything to go by, that was his idea - so more power to him!
Michael also gave the little speech at the end in thanks to GOTN that almost made me cry. I was, to be frank, expecting it... but I certainly wasn't from Michael. Just goes to show, really.

06. Alex and Aly (from Hot Octopuss)
I have a complicated relationship with Hot Octopuss. I was the first blogger to review the PULSE, and I didn't like it much, which Adam (does your name have to begin with an A to work for Hot Octopuss?) took exception to. But I have no such problem with the people behind the products. I adore Alex and Aly - everything from the way they look to their slightly caustic wordplay... and that fast that, as it turns out, Alex is a brony.
I won a Hot Octopuss product in the raffle this year, but because I'd already offered to review one, they very kindly offered me another toy to make up for that. So this morning the postman dropped off a Queen Bee... and I'm envisioning a very grateful girlfriend at some point very soon...

07. Cressida Downing
I wasn't actually going to attend Cressida's session until Emmeline talked me into it, so I was as surprised as anyone when I actually volunteered to talk about my blog with her to see if there is, in fact, a book in it.
Long story short: as it turns out, there isn't - but there are a couple of books to be made out of my OCD-like addiction to soft porn. So maybe there are a couple of books in the blogger, after all.
It was during this session that I came up with the ides of Jadis doing Naked Science, like Kaori used to do. Hi, Kaori. I miss you.

08. Amy (from Coffee & Kink) and Hannah (of the confessional kind)
While these two are both very talented and worthy in their own right, they are quite similar in my memory, because they both attended my session last year, they both had a new(ish) blog that they wanted to build, and I promised them both that I would follow their blog over the year. And I meant it - so I did.
I was very pleased to see both of them back, and more so when Hannah told me she remembered a compliment I gave her over a year ago! I also got to talk to them a bit on the second day, whereas on the first (and at the drinks on Friday), I barely got a chance to. I was a little afraid, actually, that I wouldn't be allowed to say much to either of them at all. I'm pleased that that wasn't the case. Keep blogging, girls!

09. Charlie Powell (a sex blogger, of sorts)
Because, through the tumultuous sea of snow and ice outside to the pleasing heat of the doors inside, and though my head was foggy with fever and my bladder full to bursting, and I had to leave the fetish.com session because I was choking so much, one thing still holds true: I am, have been, always will be, very appreciative of the existence, intelligence, and tenacity of Charlie Powell.

10. Aaron Burr, sir
Who's the damn fool that shot him.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Halo

Everywhere I'm looking now
I'm surrounded by your embrace
Baby, I can see your halo
You know you're my saving grace


Recovering from an acute illness can be brutal. There have been times, over the past week, where I can't recall ever having felt worse. Of course I probably have, but I can't recall. My head is foggy. Thinking is difficult.

Sleeping, which is always something I've had trouble with, is worse. I've been up every night: sometimes coughing apoplectically, sometimes dashing to the toilet, sometimes choking and having to grab water, or vomiting into the kitchen sink. Waking up is vague - getting up even more so. Today I managed to get dressed in good time, which is a small victory in itself.

I can't even pleasure myself correctly. I tried to construct a scene in my head yesterday. It worked well enough, but fell apart as soon as I realised the music was all wrong. With this desperate, ragged breathing, and severe chest and back pain, sex is also out of the question.

Last night, I straightened the sheets before getting into bed.

It made a world of difference. Rather than just sitting there and pulling the dishevelled heap of duvet over, I made the effort (yes, I know - but there was effort involved, trust me), and straightened everything out. Half the duvet each. Two pillows each. Everything, basically, as it should be. I didn't honestly think, initially, that this would make much of a difference - it was just something to do while tidying - but then I actually got into bed...

...and it was glorious. Effortless in its simplicity. No uncomfortable pillow positions. None of the chilly lack of duvet or the overabundant constriction of too much. No blue screens, or mindless television patter, or distractions. Just the bed, and myself, and her.

I haven't been able to hold her too much in the past week, either. She is, also, unwell; we are both feeling tender. Money and housing worries are pressing down on us, and with the constant flow of our jobs causing occasional absences (and not really aiding our health), it has been difficult. I have missed her warmth. I have missed holding her close. It is simple, but it's the sensation that I miss. I can lie there gasping for air, or regulate my breathing to stop the sound I appear to be making like a cross between a banshee and the Nazgûl. Maybe it's healthier to be up and about. But in the middle of the night, sick or not, all I need is her.

And, for the rest of the night, that was all. I had to get up a few times, but every time, I knew that when I slipped back into bed, it would be full of her warmth. I knew that I had space to relax - rest my tired body even if my brain refused to do so - and that I would be mere inches from her, as well.

Last night I slept in a pool of warmth and love.

I'm not better. But I felt it.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Croak

I owe you all a blog post, I know.

I have plenty of things to say about Eroticon. I always do. I've even started one of those "ten things..." posts, which will get done - although quite when, I'm not sure - but it will need serious rewrites before I even get close to posting it. I barely ever rewrite anything, so that does mean something.

I've been in something of a daze since the weekend. If you were there, you may have noticed that I had a bit of a cold during 'con (and, indeed, I left the Fetish.com session because I almost choked). I wasn't alone; my good friend Rose had a cold just as bad and, on Saturday morning before the venue opened, we sat in Caffé Nero swapping tips for how to make it through. I'd like to think that, given the circumstances, I did.

Immediately following the closing plenary (during which I won a prize... but I've given the guys from Hot Octopuss the wrong address... which may be a problem...), I dithered about what to do. I wanted to go for a relaxing drink with the remaining delegates, but I'd also promised to attend a musical event that evening.

I chose the musical event, which was - with hindsight - a mistake. I made it about as far as Stockwell before I got completely lost, and ended up panicking for 45 minutes, walking through increasingly heavy snow with no hat, gloves or scarf. By the time I found the pub, I was a changed man. Weak with hunger, desperate for the toilet and shivering all over - not to mention soaked to the skin - I made it to the event with only 30 minutes left. I went on stage, spoke my way through two songs (effectively using up what was left of my voice), and then phased out completely.

How I got home that evening I'll never know. I used to commute to (and from) Waterloo, which is where I ended up, so at least I had a route.

Yesterday morning I had a doctor's appointment (for something completely unrelated), but by this point was too ill to dismiss what I had as a cold. I was disgnosed with bronchitis and put on (vegetarian) amoxicillin. Walking through the snow for an hour had probably led to the inflammation, but to be honest, I'd probably have been susceptible enough anyway.

Standing up hurts. It hurts to breathe; it hurts to talk; it hurts to move. It hurts to write, but it hurts more to not write. I want to. There's so much more I can say. But if I'm going to have to take rest breaks while writing a mere blog post, then maybe that's a sign that I need to slow down. If only a little.

But, for what it's worth, I really enjoyed Eroticon.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Playmate

When I was a toddler aged two or thereabouts, my father, who is an actor, was peforming in a play outside of London. He invited my mother to come for the final night, and (loath to leave me with unscrupulous grandparents who would doubtless over-feed me) she took me along with her. She saw the play, and then accompanied my father to the cast party to celebrate a successful run. Again, I accompanied her.

One of Dad's co-stars was a little-known actor who had a small daughter almost exactly the same age as me. They set us up in the same room with various toys scattered around the place. My memory's usually quite good - my first memory comes from the age of one and a half - but those I have of this occasion are hazy. I expect I was quite tired at the time, but I do recall playing at something under a table.

I also sort of remember the daughter. I wasn't really playing with her - more alongside her - and I imagine we were too young to have held a conversation. But when I stretch my memory back, I can identify vague features. I remember her being blonde, and having a relatively long nose. That's about it, but then, I was two - the fact that I can remember it at all is an achievement in itself.

Dad never acted with this man again, although they did occasionally contact each other (but haven't done so for decades, so I hear). I never saw his daughter again, although our lives ran parallel for a while. We were both heavily invested in school productions, and we both decided to pursue acting in later life, with our respective fathers' blessing. The main difference being, of course, that she is doing a little better than I am.

I am very pleased for my childhood playmate.

Her father's name - Dad's co-star - was Will Knightley. Her name is Keira.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

#moar!

In Russ Meyer's penultimate skin flick, 1979's Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens (his last, if you don't count Pandora Peaks), main character and huge pair of breasts Lavonia Shed frequently shouts "more cock!" during sex.

Presumably I knew this before the age of eighteen, but I don't recall doing so. Beneath the Valley... had a profound effect on me in my mid-teens, managing to catch it twice on Bravo. It's responsible for my first orgasm, plenty of successive orgasms, and some incredibly unrealistic expectations of what sex involves. It wasn't until I was legally old enough to buy it - I was in my first year at university at the time - that I managed to get all the references, and notice that, despite all the skin, there's a very important message hiding behind the softcore sheen.

I also didn't remember Lavonia's vocalisations during all the sex she has (and, seeing as how she's played by Kitten Natividad, that's quite a lot). I remembered all the screams, but I didn't remember the banter with Mr. Peterbuilt, the conversational make-up sex with her husband Lamar, or she and salesman Semper Fidelis making love in rhyming couplets. Nor did I remember "more cock!", but it is true - she shouts it in practically every sex scene, with some variation:

More! More cock! Give it to me! I want it - give me more cock!

And at one point:

¡Ay ay ay ay! ¡Gringo no call me Lola! ¡Lola no call me Gringo! ¡Coque mi!

In any case, I exposed myself to Kitten Natividad as Lavonia multiple times during my first year. I preferred Emmanuelle, to be honest, but I prized my copy of Beneath the Valley... highly, and the occasional references amused me greatly, from hanging onto my bass drum for support because I was laughing so much at my band playing Old-Time Religion to grinning myself inside out at the Anvil Chorus or Prince Igor playing as part of the music mix at my first job. And, of course, pretty much every time I heard the word "more!" ejaculated, I mentally added "cock!" I want it - give me more cock!

At one point during the film (several times, actually), Lavonia appends, "I love it!" to her already-rhapsodic adoration of cock. It's brutal, insofar as her delivery is concerned. And, for a while, "I love it!" became a catchphrase of mine - mostly because only I found it funny. And I used it to encourage myself, too. Just before an exam, I wrote myself a note of encouragement:

This test.
This English test.
I am going to ace it.
I am going to ace this test, this English test.
I am going to ace it.
I love it.

And after a few seconds, I added:

(More cock, etc.)

But why did it come back to me today? Truly, I've no real idea. I didn't at any point ask anyone for more or tell them I loved it. I didn't even speak fake Spanish. I spent most of the day on my feet, pausing only to guzzle some chocolate someone left in the break room or perch on the side of a desk because I was hurting so badly. I also said goodbye to some of my very favourite clients. Beneath the Valley... shouldn't have been on my mind at all.

But it was.

Maybe I just really love cock.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

The Girl in the Green Coat

For about a year, around the year 10 or 11 mark (I forget which, but I think it was year 10), I had a huge crush on one of the girls in my year. This shouldn't have come as a surprise - of course I had a crush; people do in their teens - what did come as surprise was the fact that the girl I liked was relatively famous (outside of our school), and apparently had a sixteen-year-old boyfriend (I was fifteen) outside of the confines of school. She had a career path planned, and couldn't wait to leave.

I told Einstein and Music Man, and later on another friend, which was a mistake, in hindsight. My bully, who by then had turned ally, read my lips in a reflection and worked out who it was. He then shouted it into a corridor. I denied it, but it was too late. For the next few months, her life was hell. I tried to avoid her, but since we rarely talked anyway, that wasn't difficult. Betrayed by someone I almost trusted, I spent my days trying to get a glance at her, then going home to cry and write emotional poetry. Quite a lot of poetry, in fact.

What I surprised myself with, however, was how - now that it was public knowledge and she was hating it - I was more willing to share. Even if the news hadn't travelled that far (and even my German teacher knew, so...), it hadn't escaped the whole year's attention that I had a crush. Even the girl two years below who had a crush on Lightsinthesky knew. Lightsinthesky knew too, of course, but then he knew everything.

Someone I didn't know very much and didn't like very much once cornered me on the bridge above the main road which I used to cross to get to school and demanded to know who I fancied.

"I'm surprised you don't know," I shrugged. And I told him her name.
"The girl in the green coat?" he suggested.
"Uhm... sure, why not?" I replied.

It took me a few minutes to work out what he had said. The silver girl I liked didn't wear a green coat, but one of my friends did. This was a female friend who had taken it upon herself to teach me how to flirt. I wasn't very good at it, but she was. I wasn't sure how she felt about me, but I doubt nowadays that she was at all interested past friendship. I had now told someone, inadvertently, that I had a crush on someone I didn't... but who I used to hang out with a lot, and flirt. It wouldn't have seemed inconceivable to an outsider that she was the object of my affections.

Things got stranger and weirder by the day. According to me, and my collection of poetry The Pleasure of Anthology, I was passionately and hopelessly in love with the silver girl. By the time I got around to compiling my second collection It's a Farmyard Out There!, I was passionately and hopelessly in love with the girl in the green coat. I was later interested, of course, in Moaner Lisa, plus the girl-I-used-to-have-a-crush-on, and then Soldiergirl, all in succession. None of them had a particularly good time being fancied by me, and the worst thing is, I couldn't actually do anything about it. I felt like I needed to apologise.

In the end, I did what any sane person would have done, and drew a diagram.

By the time I'd sorted everything out, the silver girl (with whom I had become friends) had left school, the girl in the green coat (who had since abandoned the green coat) had advanced to the sixth form with me and was now dating (and possibly shagging) the older guy who was a bit of a computer genius, the whole debacle with Soldiergirl had passed by, and everyone had moved on with their lives. I was still, of course, a little confused... but I wouldn't let on.

The last person I had a crush on while still at school also had a crush on me. She didn't go to my school and, later, became my first girlfriend. So this time I didn't feel guilty telling anyone who it was.

She was a little afraid of the colour green, though, so wouldn't be wearing any such coat.