Any excuse to travel to England is a good one for me, but the best excuse is the Rubber Ball weekend! I’d had my bag mostly packed before I had even picked up the last items for various outfits, and the last things put in were; a custom black latex pencil skirt freshly fashioned by Lust Designs, black and gold leg warmers, some random assorted Shiseido make-up, and an enormous amount of fake pearls. With an assortment like that, you know a good time is in the offing!
Travelling is always a crap-shoot. Sometimes you soar effortlessly from one side of the world to the other. Or, you may have a trip like we had. My Master and I did not know, when we boarded the plane in San Francisco, that Chicago’s O’Hare airport and our connecting flight, were shut down due to severe storms. This led to extra hours of flying, a refueling in Des Moines, three hours sleep, a very exciting drive through rush-hour traffic and then rushing through a packed airport to not miss our final flight to London.
But nothing – neither man-made mistakes nor acts of God – was going to keep us from our weekend of fetish festivities. So, we arrived, bright-eyed and shiny-apparelled to the Thursday night opening bash, the Flash Monkey cabaret in the Café de Paris.
It’s a lushly velveted venue, filled that night with perverts showing off the kind of formal that only the kinky can do: pin-stripe latex suits, bodies perfectly postured yet voluptuously curved by corsets, little hats perched jauntily on heads with veils slicing diagonally across faces, and cigarette holders poised eternally at wine-stained lips.
I was wearing a lovely cream latex blouse by Honour, with the aforementioned Lust pencil skirt, and it was my first time wearing not-skin-tight latex. I loved moving all evening, feeling the folds of latex on my arms and chest caressing me so smoothly.
There were a number of excellent acts on the stage, lots of lovely burlesque numbers performed with the live jazz band, a gorgeous contortionist who both smoked a cigarette and drank wine while bent in impossible positions, and one brilliant number where a dress was bullwhipped off a dark-haired beauty. But the highlight for me was finally getting to see The Wet Spots perform, Do You Take it in the Ass? They had even more charisma in person than in their amazing video, which I had seen online.
But the night was mostly about meeting up with friends and getting the festivities off to the right start. And, for me, it was about meeting a new friend from the Skin Two Forums, my “kissing cousin,” Ariel.
Since this was my first ever Skin Two Rubber Ball, it made sense for me just run around and have fun. And that’s what I did, while my Master photographed performances and the well-accoutered; I wandered from old friends to new, getting back in the practice of talking over loud music, and generally having a wonderful time. Giddy from a kiss from Ariel, I babbled excitedly to my Master for the whole cab-ride home through the wonderful London night streets.
Friday, after a bit of shopping (my Master seems to think there is no upper limit on the amount of schoolgirl clothing and accessories we should have, so the John Lewis store is one of our Meccas) was Torture Garden. Well, it was also the Cocktail Party, but we didn’t go (which was partially due to my vanity. I was borrowing a wig from Kumi – who was going to be performing at TG and we were meeting there – and didn’t want to be seen with my outfit unfinished.)
I’ve been out to so many fetish events dressed to the nines in latex and other fetish fabrics, and haven’t really been able to just let loose and dance. I decided that for this TG, dancing was my goal, and so my Master and I had the amusing task of getting me disco-dollied up so I could be a dancing queen. Happily, American Apparel had for some reason, this fashion season, spandex in colors ranging from navy blue to gold lamé. The latter, paired with a black mesh leotard and black and gold legwarmers, gave me a good start on my “active fetish-wear” costume, but a final touch was needed, something over the top. What better than a blonde afro? And, happily, I have friends who tend to own such things (and even better, who don’t mind lending them to me!)
Of course, finding your friend in a tightly packed crowd filling up a nightclub where the illumination comes mostly from lasers and strobe lights is an interesting thing. When you are running around looking for someone, it means you see things just like in a movie-version of a nightclub: a flash of pierced, naked breast, bulging biceps wrapped in black PVC, a slender, androgynous body slipping by in transparent latex, seven-inch stilettos nearly taking out your toes as you rebound across the dance floor, a glimpse of bondage from the stage before you turn back into the heat of the crowd. (And why is it that, when you bump into various friends, it’s always right in front of the huge pounding speakers that make all communication less basic than a smile and hug entirely unfeasible?)
My wig-finding became quite a quest and eventually involved me using my cutest smile to win my way to the performer’s changing room, which made me feel so nostalgic for my days performing in fetish nightclubs. All nightclub backstage areas are the same the world around, with that smell of spilled alcohol and old sweat, with half-dressed performers sitting and chatting, surrounded by piles of hair products and make-up, latex, baby powder, lube and piles of rope, with emergency scissors balanced on top.
After all that, in the end I didn’t end up dancing all that much. My Master and I hung out taking pictures of Midori and Kumi’s suspension show, chatting with friends and perfecting the art of avoiding the numerous naked men. Then I got to make out with Ariel as my Master wandered off to take more pictures.
As limits hadn’t yet been discussed, I pushed them a little with a sly and opportunistic lick of her right nipple. “Is that okay with your Master?” she asked, laughing. I said I thought it was, and was reassured later: “I licked Ariel’s nipple, Sir, was that okay?” “Well … which nipple was it?” “Um … the right one.” “Oh, well, if it was the right one, then that’s fine.”
I only caught glimpses of most of the performances, but that’s the great thing about events like these: the multitude of guests is the main show, with the variety of their fabulously perverted imaginations on display.
Saturday dawned clear and lovely. Not that we were awake for it, mind you. Our more leisurely rising was well after the crack of noon. But we had much to see and do, because it was the first day of the Expo. How pleasant it is to wander around a bazaar filled with nothing but shiny clothes and spiky collars and implements of pain/pleasure, knowing that in the next stall you are likely to bump into a dear old friend or that hottie you met last night whom you’d like to know rather better.
To watch an impromptu photo-shoot spontaneously happen right in front of you or catch a bondage class by Midori while eating chocolate-covered strawberries you picked up from the convenient chocolate fountain. I do appreciate such decadence!
At the Expo, I also got to meet in person my friends from the Skin Two Forums. I appreciate geekery just as much as decadence – even better when they are combined! The Forums booth was where I was meeting Ariel and the lovely Empress Victoria for a girly adventure to get our hair done at Pepi’s in Camden for the main event, finally, the Skin Two Rubber Ball, that night, held in the cavernous SeOne underneath London Bridge.
Two hours later, we emerged and, waiting on the street corner for our ride, I joked to the girls that we looked like a bunch of very unusual prostitutes. E Vie had her hair up wildly with rubber strips admixed. Ariel had a good headstart on her Jessica Rabbit look, and I, well, I had been curled under those hair-dryer helmets, backcombed, pinned, and hair-sprayed non-stop for those two hours, and was startled to see Queen Elizabeth 1 looking at me every time I walked past a mirror.
We all went back to meet up with my Master, and it was wonderful having a bunch of pervs getting ready together, with people in various stages of dress and undress wandering around looking for various accoutrements. Empress Victoria and her boyfriend were all black and shiny in layers of latex. Ariel was sleek and showing curves to great advantage in a long latex dress, and my Master resplendent in red leather robes as a kinky cardinal.
I had gone through great effort to get my outfit, borrowing it from a costumer friend who lived pretty far away, also borrowing the corset and hoop skirt from the lovely ladies at Dark Garden the San Francisco corsetieres. But suddenly, pulling on layer after layer of the authentic Elizabethan gown, I wondered: “Am I fetish enough? Will people look at me and wonder what I am doing at the Rubber Ball?” Putting the outfit together, it had seemed all very fetishy to me – the corset and metal hoops of the skirt reshaping me, the fanatic attention to detail on the dress displayed in every hand-sewn pearl – it had seemed like the very epitome of fetish when I thought of it – but would others see it like I did?
Well, the cab driver liked it, all right! As we climbed in the taxi he remarked, “I never ‘ad royalty in the back of me cab before!” This made me smile but did not calm my nerves, which continued all through the drive….
But when we got to the club, my nerves melted away under the immediate warmth and excited response that greeted me, or really, Her Majesty. It seemed everyone wanted a chance to come over and curtsey and say, “You look beautiful, Your Highness, or simply just “Mum,” while bobbing their head. My breast swelled, my chin lifted regally and I glided around the club like I really was a queen. (Well, the gliding was partly me channeling Queen Bess, and partly because if I tried to walk normally, I’d step on the leading edge of my skirts and tip right over!)
What a wonderful night! I got to fulfill my geek side by watching a Star Wars light-sabre battle and I dared sweating off my make-up in the very sultry dungeon to watch Rubberdoll be a very naughty nun. There was almost too much: too many performances to watch, too many rooms to explore. A randy and very drunk fellow tried to crawl under my skirts, and I had to kick him away and threaten to chop off his head. My favourite part was actually around 2 am or so, when we had found a cooler space in a red fabric-lined hallway, and we were just standing around, chatting with friends who wandered by. People were relaxed after initial excitements of the evening, had a few drinks in them, and were just happily chatty and friendly. There was flirting, laughing and general bonhomie, the sounds of throbbing music and people having a good time as background to it all. When you hit that moment at a fetish event, you know it’s a good one.
Sunday was the last day of the Expo, which featured people somewhat blearily wandering around peering through hung-over eyes at the racks of latex catsuits and rows of speciality butt-plugs.
After dinner with friends, where the events of the past few days were discussed and gossip was relished, we were off to the Finale. I was happily dressed in a schoolgirl uniform, from panties to the elastic in my ponytail.
The Finale turned out to be the best night of all. The same energy I had loved the previous night, of relaxed camaraderie and unhurried enjoyment, seemed to have overtaken everyone. There was more dungeon equipment than chairs at the posh club, so a group of us ended up sitting on a spanking bench near the bar, drinking and chatting for hours, watching people getting in one last flogging before the weekend was over and they had to go back to their workaday lives.
At one point, my Master led me away and found another spanking bench, and put me over it, lifting up my plaid pinafore and pulling down my navy knickers to use his hands and a tawse (which I was completely startled to discover he had brought with him.) The environment was so casual, with BDSM play going on in between groups of people chatting, that a scene starting up caused no pause in conversation. After our scene was over, my panties hadn’t even been pulled up before some people came over to chat with my Master about life and the fetish world. It was just a bar with random kinky scenes happening in it – nothing strange or unusual about that for this crowd.
And that’s what’s so great about the London fetish scene. Everyone is as relaxed about their kink as I’ve ever encountered, even in “Sin Francisco,” but people don’t seem jaded or likely to ever tire of their perversions. At the Rubber Ball, I was impressed with how many people had put so much time, effort, and money into their outfits. And at all the events, I was delighted with the easy camaraderie of the truly international crowd.
I can’t wait to find out what the details are for the Rubber Ball next year, so I can start planning my outfit…
photos by Mr. Defeu and Martin Perrault
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