Monday, 24 November 2014

Manchester mayhem - nuns, whips, getting lost and crispy duck with pancakes

Erotica authors, it's sometimes thought, are a shy, quiet bunch in real life. Perhaps I'm a bit atypical, being a gobby old show off given the slightest opportunity, but that slightly tired trope of the diffident, timid, retiring author could be said to have taken a bit of a kicking last weekend at Smut Manchester.

I mean, all it takes is a naughty nun and the components of a bondage kit (and my own collection of whacking implements) and utter mayhem is likely to ensue.

I started my trip a bit inauspiciously by getting spectacularly lost in the Manchester suburbs. I don't have the world's best sense of direction, but decided to do my usual thing of trusting to a newly-purchased map and the public transport system, which seemed to be just fine at first, but somehow ended up with me wandering aimlessly down unpaved paths, under dripping railway arches and through a deserted industrial estate, with a bag full of whips, as the sun was going down. I reminded myself forcefully that all weird experiences are potential story material, but was definitely very relieved to set eyes on the BnB at last. 

Friday night involved a few drinks with various Smutters and what should have been an early night but translated into sitting up till about 3am with a fourpack and cracking on with Chapter 3 of what will hopefully be the next book. Saturday was Smut day proper, however. In the unavoidable absence of Kay Jaybee, who usually does the necessary chastizing when authors overrun their time slots, I got to arm myself with my favourite paddle and punish anyone who didn't stop reading when s/he should have done. The mere threat of my presence kept most of the slam participants in line, but there's always one (isn't there, Charlie?) Actually, Slave Nano went one better and pre-booked his whacking, with a reading intended to, er, climax, with the author being pursued off stage and round the room...

I had, in fact, said rather sternly to a friend that the event was 'not a play party, you know. It'll just be a lot of people talking about books.' But this Smut involved a whole lot more direct participation than usual, what with Cara Sutra letting everyone play with her bondage kit. We were divided into teams and challenged to see how many different uses we could put the items to, and as we had one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on our team, those uses rapidly got varied. If you want to check out the full range of filthy pictures, check out the various postings here. I had been slightly anxious that my own talk and demo on stuff to hit people with might be a bit of an anticlimax, but that wasn't the case, and my only anxiety at the time was whether or not I would get all my toys back at the end of the session. I did, which is just as well...

A lot of us ended the day with dinner in a very good Chinese buffet restaurant, whose staff were remarkably charming in the face of 18 people arriving to claim a table booked for 12 and having assorted rather startling conversations all night. The youthful and energetic went on to further fun and games in the town centre, but this old bird was fit for nothing but a good night's kip after all the excitement.

Excellent event, folks. Roll on the next one.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Flashbacks and book sightings: La Boudoir

Having been tipped off by the lovely Cara Sutra that the launch of the Boiler Room at La Boudoir Boutique was happening, I took myself off to the East Kent coast. Having been a student at the University of Kent I have all sorts of depraved memories attached to Herne Bay, Whitstable and Canterbury. I was therefore wildly overexcited on the bus from Herne Bay to Birchington and full of vivid flashbacks of motorbikes, men in leather, giggly post-party/post-coital stumbles homeward and all the rest of it.

La Boudoir is lovely, too: a series of beautifully decorated rooms (including the aforementioned Boiler Room which combines steampunk and dungeon aesthetics with some really good furniture and a tempting range of toys); friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere. I was also happy to record a sighting of Books In The Wild.

It's always nice to see books on shelves and do a quick namecheck/headcount to see who and what is represented - I spotted Aishling Morgan and Kay Jaybee among others.

more than one bookshelf, as well...

A thoroughly good way to spend a damp Saturday afternoon - check them out if you're in the area.