When the Bad Kitty heard that Erotica had moved to a new venue – Tobacco Dock – he was interested in what people would think of the event. His previous experience of Erotica when at Olympia wasn’t one he cared to remember so it was with hope for better things that the Bad Kitty visited the Sunday of Erotica 2013.
The first thing that Bad Kitty noticed was the feeling of much more space. This Kitty isn’t keen on crowds so space is a good thing; there was not a feeling of too much being stuffed into a small space. The light was good, unlike many exhibition areas which overdose on headache inducing bright lights. With bag and programme in hand, Bad Kitty went for a mooch around.
The first thing the Bad Kitty saw was the mobile clinic from the John Hunter Clinic For Sexual Health. Promoting a positive approach and attitude to sexuality includes regular testing – something which isn’t always that easy in some parts of London if you work full time – so their presence here was most pleasing. A chat with the clinic’s crew revealed that they had been quite busy and their supply of dental dams had been exhausted.
Plenty of advisory leaflets were on the clinic’s table along with a bowl of a variety of condoms and the clinic crew were friendly, happy to advise on issues and non-judgemental towards people. This is something some NHS clinics tend to forget: judgemental and other bad attitudes from clinic staff put people off going to be tested. The S in NHS stands for Service, not Slagging off people who are different. So a huge Bad Kitty purr for the John Hunter Clinic crew, treating people how they should be treated.
A cup of tea later and Bad Kitty wandered around the stalls. There was a good mix of vendors, this wasn’t just an Ann Summers shop on roid rage. Sex, kink, events, publications, fashion, artwork and toys were all well represented in their many different manifestations.
Deserving of mention were the London Alternative Market’s discussions and demos. Master Cosmic’s introduction of the LAM was as good an explanation of the kink scene as I have heard in a long time, followed up with his bondage demo which generated quite a crowd. People were looking for viewing slots from above, below and even from the stage area! Looks like the bondage demos are very popular and might need more space.
With the explosion of interest in kink caused by that book it’s important that people come to know what is good practice (whether SSC or RACK) in bondage and kink. The bondage in that book isn’t. If Master Cosmic says so then this Kitty isn’t going to argue with him.
A discussion on what to wear at events and clubs was enlightening, touching military uniforms, clergy wear, medical wear and the ethics of wearing certain types of uniform. It’s not what you wear but how you behave that should inform how others respond to you. You could turn up dressed as the Archbishop of Canterbury but behave like a disrespectful rude thug and you will be thrown out.
On that very point, the atmosphere throughout the time the Bad Kitty was there was polite, pleasant and respectful. Bad Kitty talked with a variety of vendors about toys, features, furniture & how it could be altered/used for disability and found them all happy to advise and assist where possible.
The erotica writers’ tables were fun to be around, although a tired Kitty wasn’t able to make it back to them for a second visit. It would be good to see a larger area for these lovely people.
The main stage area had plenty going on, including East End Cabaret introducing performers in their own unique way and a trio of Matrix leather jacket clad guys dancing on stage. The glamour area, featuring models including some from Television X, seemed very well attended.
Visitors could investigate and buy supplies and toys, buy kinky furniture, learn about swinging and swingers clubs, learn about taking steps into the kinky world, watch fire play and bondage demos, burlesque performances, buy gorgeous new clothes, get tested and even have photos taken with models.
What turned the Bad Kitty on the most? The patching in the comms cabinet was so beautifully done that it was almost sexual in its appearance. Geeky Kitty is geeky. Bad Kitty has to confess he got terribly shy and nervous at Lisa Heart’s stand.
Points for improvement?
The No Photography rule could and should have been enforced better. Those who were allowed to take video footage certainly should have asked visitors before they started filming. Bad Kitty had to make it clear to one particular cameraman that his filming was not welcome.
The downstairs toilets were awful and had clearly not been cleaned since the previous evening. The upstairs toilets were significantly better.
The £2.75 charge for cash machines. Not something the event organisers can do much about but ouch!
The London Alternative Market discussions and demos were very well attended and viewed – they would benefit from more space.
More natural organisation of stands. An areas or zones set up might be good.
Please consider having a designated quiet room for next year, somewhere people can rest a while if they feel overpowered by music or something they’ve seen.
A significant improvement on the Bad Kitty’s previous Erotica experience at Olympia. This was a positive event which promoted an open, non judgemental and responsible approach to sex. No turnip munching here. The Bad Kitty is delighted that Erotica will be returning to Tobacco Dock next year – it is a much better venue than Olympia.
Well done to the Erotica team for organising the event and thanks to John D from John D Stories for persuading me to go. Bad Kitty owes you a drink