Emerald in the magazine

Emerald sat on the park bench staring at the magazine.

It had been left by the previous occupants of the bench, two student-looking guys wearing T-shirts that seemed to advertise heavy metal bands. The cover didn’t appeal to her, but she’d been curious.

The photo had resurfaced. It was on page 35, the lower half, as part of an advert.

It was evidently being used as the cover image of a book. No. 1 bestseller! the billboard announced. Sex, Scandal and Sadism in the Swinging Sixties. The title was in a script that was harder to read – she hadn’t brought the right glasses – but had been positioned strategically to cover her nipples.

The ad evoked a rush of memories, emotions, reactions. They didn’t come in any particular sequence or order. They didn’t tell a story. They were just elements in her life, no join-the-dots connectedness to them.

The picture came from 1965. She’d been 21 at the time.

The original showed her hands tied behind her back; ropes around her upper arms and breasts; knees and ankles tied together. It was technically a hogtie because a rope ran from her ankles to the small of her back, pulling her feet behind her. But she’d been lying on her side. Nude, of course – Jon always preferred to shoot her nude. But the shot was taken from a low angle, with her looking back – or up, from her perspective – at the camera. Her face and tits had been in the foreground, with the rope around the tits.

He’d used a Hasselblad. State of the art for the period. All of her body was in focus, including her toes, visible behind her head. NASA had used Hasselblad cameras on the first Apollo missions.

The shoot had been in colour. Jon spent a lot of time messing with a red light in front of her, and a blue light – an ordinary bedside light with a silk scarf thrown over it – behind her. But the finished product, half-page in a pulp magazine, had been in black and white.

The mags had started to decline in popularity in the late sixties, and some of them had turned to explicit photos rather than artwork to reverse the trend. She couldn’t remember the title. It was in the weird menace, murder, horror and sexploitation end of the market.

Was Jon even alive, still? She hadn’t seen him since the mid-seventies. God knew who held the rights to the picture now. She’d been paid five pounds for the shoot, which in those days was a week’s wage packet for a lot of women.

He’d gagged her with a piece of cloth ripped from her kaftan mini-dress. The kaftan had cost seventeen shillings and sixpence from a shop in the Kings Road, this being in the days before decimalisation when shilling and pence were still in use. She’d insisted on being refunded the cost in addition to the five pounds.

After the shoot she’d walked home naked under her raincoat.

The pic was one of a set. He’d shot maybe three dozen and come up with five he really liked. The others were of her from a low angle, full-frontal; from above, looking down as he stood over her with this shadow falling across her thighs; close-up of face and breasts; and one shot from by her knees, showing exposed buttocks, arms behind her, ropework.

This was all done in the days before Japanese bondage became popular. No kinbaku, no shibari. Not many people had heard of John Willie. There was no aesthetic of jute and hemp: it was all damsel-in-distress and white cotton rope, the kind used for window sash cords. You could buy it in any street-corner ironmongers.

Every parade of shops had an ironmonger in those days. Everyone needed coal scuttles, dustbins, nails, washing lines, rope…

In the picture she was crying. The tears were real. The terror was real. The bastard wanted her to look terrified. He’d told her about a serial murderer who tied his victims up exactly that way, and carved messages to the police on the skin of his victims. Then he’d thrown a cut-throat razor onto the floor next to her. That feeling of the story being a wind-up, but at the same time having an emotional effect because she was vulnerable, stayed with her a long time.

The razor had been cropped from the cover picture she was looking at.

They’d had sex when he’d finished the camerawork. He’d untied her ankles and knees, rolled her onto her back, on a blanket, and spread her legs. Her weight pressing on her wrists had made every thrust excruciating. But the fact she was still tied meant the pain didn’t matter. The fact she was still crying because of the murder story and the razor didn’t matter. Sex after a photoshoot was ritualistic, a way of bringing the whole encounter to a form of closure. The sex was a way of grounding the emotions generated in the session, like his cock was a fizzing bolt of lightening and she was the channel for it to reach the earth.

About six months after the shoot, she’d bumped into Jon again. Gone back to his place to see the magazine. She couldn’t remember the story the pictures were supposed to illustrate, though it wasn’t the one Jon had told her during the session. Then they’d had sex. It was the last time they’d had sex because by then, she had a boyfriend. After sex with Jon she’d gone home, still feeling horny, and persuaded her boyfriend to have sex with her as well. She’d given him a blowjob – ‘giving head’, they called it back then. In those days giving head was something rare and special, maybe just something you did for thirty seconds as part of foreplay. It wasn’t the normal, natural part of sex it seemed to have become now.

The shoot had been in the garage of Jon’s house. It had a cold concrete floor and despite the blanket under her when they had sex, small pieces of grit dug into her shoulder blades and buttocks. She barely noticed them at the time, but they left a rash of tiny purple bruises that took several days to fade.

It wasn’t the first time she’d been tied up. Wasn’t the last time either. The sense of helplessness always got to her, though not always as intensely as the photoshoot had done. Being taken captive had been a fantasy from a young age. French arthouse films had confirmed it wasn’t just her being weird, but a deeper part of the female psyche. The tricky part had been finding partners whose sadistic and dominant tendencies she could trust. Partners who do the things she fantasised about, but without the gruesome consequences.

The shoot had been part of a chaotic time of her life. In the sixties she’d been a wild child. It wasn’t easy being wild, you had to work at it. Not because of the drugs – she’d been a secretary in music company at the time and they’d always had a bowl of coke on the table in the meeting room and ready-rolled joints in a drawer of the reception desk. Emerald doubted anyone would believe those stories now. The company didn’t start cleaning up its office until 1967, after the Rolling Stones arrests. No, the hardest parts of being wild were the four-day parties in the country and the condition of the various squats she and many of her friends lived in.

She’d been 21 in 1965. She was 68 now. The years between then and now had seen her married, bringing up two children, divorced, remarried, bereaved. She’d had two affairs – or was it three? – and spent several years going to swingers’ clubs with her second husband. She’d enjoyed bondage sex, but the last time that had happened was going on three decades ago.

The picture was a moment in time, not a summary of a life. It was a paid photoshoot to illustrate a story she couldn’t remember, maybe hadn’t even read the whole of; it was Jon’s conception, inspiration and staging. It was a five-minute wank for unknown thousands of men who’d now be the same age as her. And yet there was a sense in which, even at this distance in time, it defined something essential about who she was.

She wondered what had happened to the other pictures from the shoot, and whether she’d ever see them again.

Unhurriedly and with the trace of a smile on her face, Emerald put the magazine in her shopping bag. She stood, smoothed the front of her raincoat in a reflex movement, and walked slowly out of the park.

***

You may see a longer version of this story in a collection at some point in the future…

New Novel Corporate Slave

Corporate Slave Cover

It’s out. It’s finally here! Fulani’s latest Novel Corporate Slave will be available from Friday 2nd November. After Twelve months of Slaving away over a hot Mac, editing, proofing, then finding a delightful cover, it’s ready for you to enjoy. And I’m sure you will enjoy it. Fulani’s top quality writing (I know I’m biased, but see for yourself) will keep you turning the pages, stopping only to cool down!

You’ll be able to find it at Erotic Book Network initially, but later on Amazon and on lots of other websites such as Smashwords. 

Here’s the lowdown:

Life isn’t easy for Cassie. She’s a sales assistant in a convenience store, in a society where sex is used to sell everything and is one of the main commodities for sale.

When she buys one of the new Intelligent Dresses to wear when she’s out clubbing, it sparks a sequence of events that lead to her being accused of using the garment’s on-board computer to carry out industrial espionage. Her captors assume she’s part of the resistance movement, seeking to bring down the group of multinational corporations that rule the country. She is imprisoned, interrogated and tortured, and ultimately sold as a slave to a senior corporate exec, Mistress NightMaire. She becomes a pleasure slave to be used for the entertainment of guests and clients.

Meanwhile she discovers a friend of hers, Lorne, is also being held by Mistress NightMaire. And Lorne, it turns out, does have connections to dissident groups.

Cassie begins to plan her escape. But will she be able to find Lorne? Will she be able to join up with the dissidents? Can they change the world? And just as importantly, now she knows the capabilities of the Dress can she get her hands on another one?

Don’t miss this one! VelvetTripp

[Edited 1st Nov to add: read a short sample of the novel, which sets out some of the setting and characters, over at Fulani’s other blog – fulanismut.blogspot.com]

Bondage. Question: How does it Feel?

hogtied

Me, hogtied

On a Pagan camp during the summer I was asked ‘how does it feel?’ right after the question ‘are you OK?’ when the audience (we were doing a demo) saw me flat out, face down, hogtied and very, very quiet.

Very good questions. Of course, I was OK. They laughed when the tone of my reply (‘I’m OK,’) was so obviously one of bliss. And that’s how it felt. My introduction to the world of BDSM at the tender age of forty+ was a bondage demo in a club. A Goth club. I watched a man tying up someone and fancied trying it. I was impressed to see he was monitoring his charge as he progressed with the tying. His approach was safety-led, ensuring no tendons or joints were under too much pressure, that arms and legs were in safe positions and his charge could breathe properly.

So I had a go while friends watched to ensure my safety, as this man was a stranger. The club was packed. Big Goth boots walked around me hogtied on the floor. Goth music blared out loudly. Weirdly in such circumstances I felt…spaced out. It was such a strange feeling. Unexpected but really good. Much better than I’d anticipated. As someone who has done a lot of meditation and has had hypnosis, this felt like some kind of trance. I was blissed out! In the middle of a busy club! I still am not sure why this should be. Is it to do with being swaddled as a baby and being tightly bound made me feel safe? Is it that I had always had to be in control in my daily life as a single mother and business manager, so here was a chance to give up control and relax? I think maybe it’s a little of each.

One thing it wasn’t and isn’t is scary. Fulani was that stranger. He is now my partner. I still enjoy being tied up. He still enjoys doing it. My birthday this year will be special, as we’ve been invited to a Rope Bondage party that very day. Fun! Scary is actually something I like when we’re playing, but bondage alone doesn’t do that. Mind-fucks do that. And they aren’t physically dangerous.

Bondage is only one aspect of BDSM, and it would be a while before I gradually found out about some of its other delights. Fulani has many years more experience than I, and has always treated me with the utmost respect. Our BDSM is a game. We do not ‘live the lifestyle’ that some choose to, but still get a lot out of it in terms of pleasure, as well as it making our relationship stronger. That’s because of the levels of trust involved. Trust is a very important issue when it comes to BDSM. As the submissive, I give my power over to Fulani whenever I put my collar on and we play. If I give him my safeword, I know that he will instantly stop what he’s doing and release me or check with me what’s wrong. This is VITAL. I might feel ill. I might feel upset. I might feel that a rope is too tight or pressing somewhere it shouldn’t. Rope can damage tendons if it presses on them for too long. Your top or Dom needs to know what he/she is doing and be able to correct a problem quickly.

So if you want to try bondage, you should trust the person who is tying you up, be certain they will respect your limits and have a safeword in case you need it for any reason at all. Communicate with your top. Tell them if something hurts when it shouldn’t. Tell them if you suddenly feel scared or upset.  Of course, if you are playing with pleasure/pain as well as bondage, ‘ow’ will not suffice. Be specific and say ‘The knot on my wrist is digging in,’ if that’s what’s happening, so he can correct if for you.

But as for how it feels, two people at that demo had a go once I’d been released. They both experienced the same blissful feeling as I did. They had never ventured into the BDSM world before. I can’t guarantee you will but how will you know if you don’t try it? And don’t forget to try something twice, just in case it was done badly  the first time!

VelvetTripp

Sex code

QR code

QR code – where does it link to?

I’ve been in town, like I am every week, a regular meeting at the arts centre. At the end of the meeting at which we’ve decided nothing and changed the world even less, I head back to my car. I’ve parked two streets away and the most direct route is down a narrow one-way street, little more than an alley.

The centre isn’t in the bad part of town, exactly, but it’s on the edge of the city core, a location where some of the cheaper and more grimy nightclubs rub up against the second-hand musical instrument shop, the launderette-cum-internet café, and the high-priced flats constructed out of an old office building as part of the city regeneration programme.

I know the cheap and grimy nightclubs intimately, I’ve bought stuff at the music shop, washed clothes and surfed at the launderette.  But they’re not what attract my attention.

There’s a door recessed into a brick wall, like a fire exit from an old textiles factory of now-uncertain use. And stuck on and around the door are small pieces of paper, about the half the size of a business card. They have QR codes on them.

You know about QR codes, right? The small square black-and-white chequered patterns you see everywhere from nightclub posters to advertisements to airline boarding passes. They encode information, anything from just a name or stock number to a website address or, for all I know, a short story. Ironically the art centre had just done an exhibition based on a QR code theme.

So, there are lots of these things and that makes me curious.

One of the exhibits had been this: visitors pin a QR code on a big map of the city which is on a gallery wall. People photograph the code with the camera in their smartphone, which will usually have an app to unravel the information. The information is a link, the link takes you to a website, to a place on the website where the person posting the code has also written a blog entry about what happened to them or what they did at that place on the map.

The idea is to view the city through other people’s eyes.

Now, here we have the codes placed in an actual, physical location instead of on a map. So I snap a couple of dozen of them with my mobile phone’s camera.

Don’t check them until I get home.

And what’s there is… well, not shocking. I’m not easily shocked. But certainly adventurous. Every QR code links to a website page; every website page shows activity happening in exactly the spot where I snapped the codes. All the activity is, by someone’s definition, sexual.

There’s flashing and nudity. There are point-of-view shots of fellatio and cunnilingus, both straight and gay. There’s sex up against the wall (and presumably a third person taking the pic?). There’s more ambitious sex, a woman bent at the waist being fucked while sucking a guy off. There’s complicated bondage sex involving two women stripped naked and tied together, three guys playing with them. There’s a guy being, as best I can tell, either pegged by a woman or fucked by a T-girl. There’s a woman in full pony-play kit and one nude except for a hood. There’s a woman in a cat outfit, licking milk from a saucer; and in another shot, a guy wearing nothing but cheap angel-wings and heavy work boots, installed in the corner in a person-sized birdcage.

And then there are the videos.

Allowing for some of the people being in multiple shots, or taking turns at taking pics, this amounts to probably fifty people having used this one alley for sex in a timeframe of, according to the dates given on the website, a couple of weeks.

I’m jealous. I’ve been missing out. Not only that, but I’ve been caught unaware, because if you want to know what’s happening in the seamier and fetishistic side of this city I normally have my finger on the pulse, and this is something I only stumbled across by accident.

The following week, after the meeting, I choose that alley to walk down even though, this time, I’ve parked my car in the opposite direction.

Nothing. The area’s been cleared, cleansed, power washed.

I retrace my steps back to my car.

I had to park about ten minutes walk away, in an area that was once a huddle of small factories. When they moved out, one of the old factories became a pool hall; another, until it burned down, was a swingers’ club. And yes, I went there a few times. Now most of the buildings are vacant, boarded up, waiting for redevelopment.

My car’s on a street that’s a dead end, though there are alleyways off to either side. Two woman stand on a corner. They’re not prostitutes; they don’t have the whore pose or the strut, they don’t look like they’re looking for johns. But one of them gives a sharp whistle and beckons me over.

“Can you take a pic of me and my friend?” she asks. “I’ve set it to auto.” Hands me her phone, points to the button.

By the time I’ve taken three steps back and let autofocus do its work, they’ve both removed their coats to display ropes around their bodies, a style known as the karada. And they’re kissing each other. Well, consuming rather than kissing.

Click, click.

“All done.” They’re so into what they’re doing it’s actually difficult to give them back the phone.

“You know what a QR code is?” one asks. “Look for a small sticker right on this corner, maybe tomorrow.”

“Nice ropework,” I say casually. “Did you do it yourselves?”

I get a smile and a laugh, but no answer.

But the pic’s good, when I go back the next day to find the QR code. Along with a dozen others within a few yards of the spot.

I find myself seeing the city from another point of view. Charting the flux and crackle of dangerous sex. Charting its variance, its standard deviation, its significance.

I’m reminded of Thomas Pynchon’s novel, Gravity’s Rainbow. One of the characters, Tyrone Slothrop, is an American soldier in wartime London. He has many sexual encounters, each one taking place at a location that is the subsequent target of a V2 rocket hit. Do his sexual exploits somehow, clairvoyantly, predict the rocket strikes or actually direct them?

I walk the streets, find the traces of sexual energy. I chart their distribution. I wonder what kind of detonation is encoded there.

 ***

An arts centre near me did host an exhibition similar to the one described in the story above (yeah, it’s fiction, though it would have been cool if it wasn’t). In the exhibition, though, the codes linked to a website that displayed paintings and drawings of different parts of the city. As far as I know, no one has used QR codes in exactly the way the story describes – yet. But I wouldn’t be surprised to discover it’s been done.

However, QR codes have been printed on condom packets as part of a safe sex promotion, with the users encouraged to follow a link embedded in the codes to post the location at which the condom was used. It’s been done in Sweden  (Simplyzesty.com), and in the US, in and around Seattle (see the Time magazine article about it). The Time article links to a map and the code shown at the top of this post also links to the map, which is searchable by gender, type of location, outcome etc.

Seducing the Myth (and other news)

Yes, time goes quickly. Only recently back from one trip away and just off on another. Hopefully we’ll have time to do more fireplay, and get some video as well as still shots.

Meanwhile, Fulani’s been busy experimenting with new jute rope, so expect a somewhat technical post on ropework sometime soon. Velvet’s been processing pictures and writing, so expect more from her sometime soon.

And the other news is that Fulani has a short story in Lucy Felthouse’s edited collection Seducing the Myth (link to Amazon.co.uk, opens in new window), which has been available for the last week or so except we’ve been slow on the uptake.

If you’re in the States, the Amazon.com link is this one.

The collection as a whole has 24 tales that lead you on a decadent journey through mythologies the world over. Stories come from Greek and Roman periods, plus Arabian, Arthurian, Hindu, Jewish, Norse, Slavic, Sumerian and Welsh myths and legends. Add in a delicious sprinkling of fairies, mermaids and ancient fertility rituals and you have a recipe for a wickedly erotic read!

The full list of contributors is: Louisa Bacio, Lexie Bay, Rebecca Bond, Shan Ellis, Justine Elyot, Lucy Felthouse, Lisa Fox, Fulani, K D Grace, Bronwyn Green, Hawthorn, Caz Jones, Burton Lawrence, Maxine Marsh, J. C. Martin, Jillian Murphy, Lydia Nyx, Rachel Randall, Kay Dee Royal, Toni Sands, Indigo Skye, Elizabeth Thorne, Saskia Walker.

Fulani’s story, ‘Andi in Chains’, is a retelling of the Andromeda myth in a pulp fiction style (well, why not?). Teaser:

Forget the rumours. Here’s how it went down, for real. Andromeda – we always knew her as Andi – was one of those rare beauties, the kind who look like a porn star except none of it’s fake. Masses of wavy blonde hair, nice figure, long legs, lips the colour of pomegranate seeds. She knew it, too. Always in shorts or miniskirts and tops that showed a good bit of cleavage.The thing was, none of the guys would touch her. Word on the street was that she was still a virgin, which in this neighbourhood was nothing short of miraculous. Most of the girls here are well on their way to being mums or prostitutes, or both, by the time they’re fifteen.
There was a reason why she was off limits. The reason being her dad, Ceph, was the hardest, nastiest Class A dealer you could think of. You don’t get to be that way without putting a few people six feet under, and everyone knew he’d done it. One time he even nailed a guy’s dick to a telegraph pole just for “looking at Andi the wrong way.”

Have fun!

Fire Flogged!

Following Fulani’s post about our holiday, I’ve been asked what it feels like to be flogged by fire. I wonder how people guessed I might know the answer to that? It’s an interesting question. Of course, we take thorough precautions when playing with fire, and have an extinguisher ready, as well as lots of cold water to treat any burns with, a first aid kit and my own first aid trained Fulani. I have to strip, as clothes could cause serious burns if they caught alight. Don’t try this stuff if you don’t know what you’re doing, please. A recent domestic accidental burn has left me even more careful as the pain was ridiculously high and has left a nasty scar.
What does it feel like? Well, an ordinary flogger is quite thuddy and hard, but a fire flogger is surprisingly lightweight. When used correctly, it hits the skin very quickly, and for this reason, believe it or not, doesn’t hurt. It’s an interesting experience. You feel the flogger, and feel the heat, but it glances over the skin so fast that, although I have in the past been convinced that there would be marks or burns, fire flogging has never damaged my skin or even left a red mark. I am so confident I’ve recommended to friends to try it. One of those friends is in the pictures in the last post. He loved it! You feel a stingy glow and of course the excitement (biggest BDSM tool being the brain) work wonders. We have been known, after doing a demo, to disappear for a while on our own. Over to your imagination now!

VelvetTripp

A fetish nursing home for your retirement? Thoughts by Velvet Tripp

While out the other night, we got into a conversation about old age and fetish. We had a laugh considering what kind of nursing home would be ideal for elderly fetishists. We know for a fact the urges to be sexual don’t go away, and a sweet tale of a ninety-something asking a member of staff in a nursing home to buy her a new vibrator while out shopping made us think (she apparently asked for a glow-in-the-dark one so she wouldn’t lose it under the duvet!).

There are the obvious jokes – sensory deprivation achieved by removing glasses and hearing aids, restraint by taking away walking frames, and caning done somewhere the dom can get a run-up to the sub’s backside using a mobility scooter with the cane held out at the right level. But since we recently posted here about a bondage garden, we thought: why not a fetish nursing home? The house and gardens could also be adapted to the special needs of the physically challenged.

Equipment for lifting could be used or converted to use as a sling, but if the dom involved also was unsteady, a walking frame would need to be stabilised in some way to work with only one hand steadying it instead of two.

Whipping benches may need to be lower so that the dom could sit down to do the business, and bondage tape might be easier to deal with than rope. Gags would possibly be difficult with false teeth (if anyone can enlighten me on that one I’d be grateful as my own teeth aren’t brilliant and might not last the course).

Blindfolds are simple enough, but what about suspension, whipping, crops etc? Maybe a sling could be used under tired bones once ropes have gone on for suspension. A pulley would get the sub and sling in position. Some equipment to keep an unsteady dom upright while wielding a whip, and perhaps a nurse to catch him on standby would be in order.

And of course they’d have to stock plenty of lube for the residents and extra power sockets for all those magic wands and other paraphernalia that doms carry around in their suitcases full of toys. The suitcases wouldn’t be needed, but plenty of storage would, and be easy to access.

Then there’s the music. Hopefully they’ll play Combichrist, Nine Inch Nails and other such atmospheric stuff for play nights. Don’t laugh; even these days, some people in nursing homes are in their sixties and thus spent their formative years listening to Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix – it’s not that unusual to hear such stuff in homes, apparently. I can’t imagine playing to Boyzone or Herman’s Hermits, though…

In the garden the arbour would need a winch to get you up there. Nettles might be a bit too cruel for thin, delicate elderly skin but there are other plants that would give a milder rash! The cold stone whipping bench could be padded with cushions and kneeler pads (the sort you use for gardening) left around for residents use. A few walking stick cabbages could be grown for their later use to help subs back to their feet after using the kneeler pads.

What kit could you dream up for a specialist fetish old people’s home or complex?