Developments on Board

I never understood why Doc turning down Gwen eventually caused Dawn to declare him persona non gratis. We were heading out to a friend’s birthday party and she just came up with a decision.

‘I don’t want to go if Doc is going to be there’ she said.

‘Why not?’

‘He was very rude to Gwen the last time we went out. You shouldn’t put up with that’

‘I’m sure that wasn’t how it was, Doc is usually very nice to everyone’

‘That’s what you want to think. He made her beg him for affection and then he turned her down’

So that’s what it was about. A couple of weeks ago Gwen had wanted some quality time with Doc and when he declined, having only just recovered from some quality time of his own, Dawn had decided that he was being rude to her. This had been bubbling away in Dawn’s mind since then and now it was coming out.

‘Anyway, I think you should stop seeing him’

‘I can’t do that he’s my best friend’

‘In that case maybe you should stop seeing me’

That was just the start to another terrible evening with Dawn, fortunately Doc didn’t turn up anyway, so I wasn’t forced to make a decision there and then but I spent the next few days in a turmoil. I could either acquiesce and stop hanging out with one  of my best friends or I could rebel dump my kinky semi girlfriend.

I needed time to think so I dived back into working on the website.

When I started on the scene there were two different groups. We’ll call these groups old school and new wave. The old school were older and more mature and had come from what there was of the underground fetish scene in the eighties and before. They were baby boomers and the pre-war generation mostly. They had come into the fetish scene when it was secret and underground, most finding out through specialist bookshops and kinky swinging parties. They generally had a view that sex was dirty, that kink was a vice, and that they were perverted and wrong thinking. Pretty much the opinion that the uninformed general public will have of anyone who announces that they like anything other than straight sex with their wife.

This is a British thing, to be ashamed of sexuality; it’s not as bad as the Americans who actually punish sexuality, but Brits steel feel quite guilty when discussing sex. The other British thing is that certain topics are treated quite humorously, like school uniforms and cross dressing. Slap and tickle is a term often used and it implies fun.

British culture has certain elements that are conducive to kink. A number of books and movies feature school uniforms, either seriously in the case of true stories of school, or funnily in the case of the Carry On movies and their friends. Men dressing as women is an old old music hall and movie staple that appears to be much more popular in British movies than others. After all who would believe that a bloke with a beard dressed as a harem girl could be attractive to every man that passes? British humour at its best or worst depending on your view.

So the old school had come from this past where spanking and cross dressing were subjects fit only for poking fun at. The old school were as a result uptight about their activities and formulaic in its presentation. Dominant men were always ‘Master’, dominant women were always ‘Mistress’, and submissives were always ‘slaves’. There was no distinction between someone who wanted to spank and someone who wanted to hurt people. The old school was composed almost exclusively of white Anglo Saxon Protestants, middle class to a man. There was no particular concept of informed consent, just a power struggle that mirrored, with vicious cruelty, the struggle in the real world for sexual liberation and equality.

The old school scene was very extreme with little opportunity for variation or choice, fixed in its ways and resistant to change, the way all groups became that are stagnant. They were also exclusive, preventing new blood from joining them with a series of tests and other means of keeping the clique ‘pure’.

The new wave was different, mostly younger, from generation x and beyond, they are interested in exploring their sexuality and stimulating all their senses. The new wave had grown up with sexual and racial equality and they were not about to fall into the dull classifications of the old school.

The new wave wanted things to be open, to be able to explore, and to live with every sense wide open. They wanted clubs where they could dance, listen to loud music, be dazzled by lights and movies, watch stage shops, buy fashionable rubber clothes, and still get a good spanking when they wanted it and how they wanted it.

It was Torture Garden that provide this for them first, fleeing from the clutches of the old school, they decided to do things their way, to be open and above board, to be perv and proud. With their flagship club and ethos leading the way they inspired many others to stand up and be counted. From the nineties and the new wave of the fetish scene sprung SM Pride, the Sex Maniac’s Ball, the Erotic Oscars, The Firm, any number of rubber fashion designers and retailers, and a whole bunch of others, all keen to just have some fun.

By the last years of the millennium the fetish scene was burgeoning and anarchic, the old school was relegated to dithering about in their tiny clubs and secret meetings while the new wave marched about triumphantly waving their rubber knickers in the air.

This was the scene as I discovered it and this was the scene that we realised needed a sense of community, that needed a place where they could gather, that needed to be informed. This was the idea that created the London Fetish Seen website: that pervy people could have an information resource, a gathering place, a channel to keep them informed, an online community that would grow with them and reflect them at the same time. A place that would be true to the new wave scene.

Why set up a fetish website? I could justify it in a number of ways: the time was ripe for a fetish scene site, I was looking for some other work to do, things just fell into place, etc.

To my mind though the over-riding feeling was that it was just right, Kurt and I bounced ideas off of each other and it all fell into place surprisingly quickly and easily. It just worked from the word go.

We built it in my bedroom, Kurt and I. Slaving over a tiny 15” CRT computer screen with a feeble 486 processor and a disk drive with no more than double digit megabytes of storage, and connecting only via dial up modem we built a website that would change the fetish scene forever and bring a sense of community to the divided and fearful individuals lurking in the dark.

Which is how we started out; in April we purchased a website and a year’s hosting, and proceeded to build a space for the community. Our main line would be reviews and photographs from all of the events that happened each month. We would post them up as soon as we could so that there would always be something new each week or even more often. We would take photos of clubbers at events so that people could see themselves and see that there were others like them out there and that the scene wasn’t exclusive, it was inclusive.

We launched a month later in May with our first reviews, words by Kurt and pictures by me. We played it old school with actual film and editing the website directly, only later would come digital cameras and content management systems. Those first couple of months were hectic and trying, we would go to events, write up the visit, develop and scan the photos, and then rewrite the website each time we added a review.

Later on we would add a shopping guide and directory, personal ads, a discussion space, and more but our initial goal was to get some reviews in and get noticed enough that we would be able to convince club owners we were serious. Once the club owners let us in to review and photo their events things started to escalate and the work started to increase. Within a month we found ourselves hard pressed for time to write reviews and publish photos while still improving the site. Especially as this was all done in our spare time.

I met Oz at one of the very first events we reviewed for the website. I knew I was in for an interesting evening when we started following a man dressed as an enormous tin robot down Tooley St.  His metal box-like feet were so ungainly that he was actually having problems getting up on to the pavement. Because we weren’t sure where we were going we helped him get his leg over and then followed to one of the most intensely themed bars that have ever existed: Cynthia’s Cyberbar.

The place was full of shiny surfaces, pulsating lights, mirrors, chromed walls, floors and ceilings and even robot waiters. No half-hearted attempt at decoration but a full Monty assault on your senses. The evening was like a cross between the cantina in Star Wars and Flash Gordon to a Queen soundtrack.

I wondered if a lot of pervs were dissatisfied with fancy-dress parties when they were young because they were the only ones that ever made an effort and nobody else bothered?  My favourite outfit of the evening was a little yellow rubber number that was a copy of the Star Trek uniforms worn by the women in the original series.

I found this red headed Vulcan beauty sitting on the lap of Oz. For some reason his lap seemed to be home to any number of scantily clad women. One of those places where you would meet everyone if you stayed there long enough.

There are hardly any wheelchair users on the scene and I thought that putting his photo on the site would show others that the scene was an open place, available to everyone.  I went up to them both and asked if I could take their picture and naturally this led on to my explaining about the website, once they had agreed and the photos were taken we talked about the scene in general and Oz entertained me with stories of his activities. I found Oz so entertaining that I asked if he would consider writing for the site and giving his perspective on things..

I told Oz that I had only seen one other wheelchair bound person on the scene and I thought that it would be interesting to get a different point of view. So I persuade Oz to write an article or two for the website and maybe put across his opinion of the scene. Oz agreed, even going so far as to empty his laptop in order for him to shake my hand to seal the deal.

He introduced me to Red, the Star trek fan who had been sitting on his lap and the three of us chatted for a while until I had to go and take more photographs. I left Oz with my details and he promised to get in touch.

Oz was a charmer; he had that special ability to say the right thing to the right person at the right time. Sometimes it came back on him but mostly everybody liked him. He used his disability mercilessly, the wheelchair transformed from a crippling liability into a shining tool that got him into the places he wanted, the things done that he wanted, and the girls he wanted.

With a bit of luck and some hard marketing work we managed to become well known on the fetish scene within a few months. We recruited others to write and help out in exchange for free entry to the clubs and a measure of fame. We did it with open arms, welcoming all who would help us, which proved to be our undoing later on because not everyone who came to us was as open as we were.

We needed help, and what better way to do it than put an ad in our own website calling for people to contribute. We soon had replies and I interviewed the most likely respondents. Sparkle and Butler were a jolly couple of pervs who liked to explore the fringe areas of the scene. I, in my role as editor in chief, sent them out to the tiny clubs and special events that we wouldn’t have made it to otherwise. They wrote excellent reviews, and even when it would appear that the event was really quite mediocre they managed to put a healthy positive spin on things.

Next was Roxy, a buxom redhead who wrote thoughtful pieces on sex in toilets. Then Lavender, a punky purple princess with long rather wild black hair who handled a lot of admin as well as getting spanked, pierced, plugged, fisted, and probed all in the name of journalism. Others followed and more would come later. We hung out with them and praised them and told them that even if they thought what they were reviewing was humdrum there were readers out there who hung on their every word and activity. Unfortunately, our inclusiveness would lead to problems later.

That first year was excessively busy; we were all working full time and running the website in our spare time. Weekend evenings would invariably be a late night trip to a club with camera and notebook followed by a late rise and jumping on the computer to upload our latest activities. I would frantically reprogram the website in the weekday evenings, working directly on the live site with no safety, cut-outs, testers, or quality assurance systems. We were raw and evolving, it was the time of the internet boom and we were riding the wave on a board made of hope and with a shoestring budget.

Despite the difficulties in my personal life the website was going strong. We were starting to be recognised by random strangers and clubs were offering us passes in order to entice us in and get their events photographed and reviewed. This was a tiring time, every weekend would be devoted to going to a club, taking photos, and getting them onto the website.

I was accompanied by Dawn to most of the events we covered, she let me drive us there in her car, and I bought her drinks and took her home afterwards. I would usually stay the night and we would indulge in languorous Sunday ‘morning’ breakfast and occasional kinky sex before I had to get up and get working. Some days Dawn was kind and generous but there were many days where she was bitter, accusing me of eyeing up some girl at the club the night before, of having insulted her dreadfully in front of someone, of not paying her enough attention, or of wasting my time on all this silly website stuff. To her what I did wasn’t work, it was messing about, playing games.

I persevered with the relationship, battening down the hatches during the stormy times and putting on sail when things went well. Dawn was a fascinating and complex person and my life was never dull when she was around.

For some reason, I don’t know why, kinky people like to get it on in or under water, it might be the fact that if you’re wearing rubber you don’t have to give a damn about it getting wet, water just runs off it. So do a lot of other liquids but water is what we’re concentrating on here.

My first wet and kinky evening was the TG Beach Party at the Aquarium, shortly after we had started doing reviews for the website. Dawn and I had decided to go because the event was at a venue we had never been to and we wanted to see what it was like. In beach party theme we shopped around for and bought some rubberwear, a high cut one piece halter neck string back swimsuit for Dawn and a pair of rubber shorts for me. We added a few accessories and some warm outer layers and headed out.

The usual routine got us into the club which was a trifle small so nicely packed and very warm. We stripped down and started to party, first the bar, then dancing, and then to the dungeon. Wandering around a bit later I discovered another room and headed in. I was hit by a haze of steam and chlorine. Battling through it I found out why the club was called the Aquarium: it had a great big swimming pool slap bang in the middle of the club.

I watched a rubber clad goddess step out of the pool, I felt like Botticelli must have when he was inspired for the Birth of Venus. Here was a beautiful young woman, glistening with water, and surrounded by clouds of steam. She was a vision, an inspiration, and my glasses had misted up.

By the time I had wiped them clean my goddess was gone. But there were plenty of nymphs in the pool so I went to grab Dawn and we dived in as soon as we could strip down. Dawn’s one piece outfit suited her figure very well and she drew a lot of attention and compliments. Beating the suitors off her we managed to find a spot to settle down in. Dawn sat on my lap and ground her bottom into me, resulting in a very tight pair of shorts very soon thereafter.

We finished the evening all wrinkly and pruned from playing in the pool for so long. I caught a glimpse of the goddess on the way out but my glasses misted up again and I lost her in the crowd. The following day I wrote up the night for the website, skipping out the kinky fun bits and concentrating on the overall tone of the evening.

The next wet and rubbery incident wasn’t quite so exotic. I was photographing the SM Pride march and Dawn had decided she would do the march with me. She put on a big hooded rubber cloak and mask to disguise herself as thanks to her job she couldn’t afford to be seen as being anything other than clean cut. The march assembled in Westminster and the route went up through Trafalgar square, then off towards a hall hidden in the depths of central London where there was an afternoon of events to attend.

The SM Pride march brings out a strange collection of pervs because it takes a certain amount of bravado to march through central London, and even more so wearing a kinky rubber outfit. Let alone the people dressed as ponies and pulling a cart. The police presence was small and amused, most of them never having seen anything remotely like this before.

The march started up with the lead being taken by Ishmael as drum majorette, then a one man band and two drummers, closely followed by the ponies and cart and then the rest of the pervy crowd. We walked along the blocked off streets, every tourist within range snapping away on their cameras. I ran back and forth taking photos of everyone and everything.

Once we got to the starting point the heavens opened and a torrential downpour swept across London. Tourists fled the streets and I ducked under cover, keeping my precious camera out of the rain, but the pervy marchers stuck through it and carried on regardless. Many of them were soaked trough in their exotic outfits but the rubber clad ones were doing fine. As quickly as it arrived the rain departed, leaving the streets fresh and clean. The march carried on and the tourists came back out.

Once we got to the end I went up to Dawn and asked her how she was, thinking that she would be soaked through. But her rubber cloak had covered her completely and her shoes were hardly touched at all, unlike the poor ponyboys and ponygirls who were looking quite bedraggled.

I tried my best to fit in to Dawn’s desires and mould myself to the way she wanted me to be but inevitably it wasn’t possible to keep on doing it. Our first serious division had been the year before and was down to an argument Dawn had with Doc at a club, I never understood what it was they actually argued about but Dawn quickly presented me with an ultimatum: either I could be her friend or Doc’s friend, she couldn’t be with anyone who supported him.

In an effort to keep things as they were I agreed to her ultimatum but carried on seeing Doc quietly on the side. He was an old friend, we shared a lot of common interests, and we enjoyed each other’s company. It simply wasn’t fair of Dawn to make such an ultimatum. It had made the previous year even more difficult as I had to keep up the pretence of avoiding Doc. In fact I ended up seeing a lot less of Doc than I used to which was a shame as we were great mates.

Things broke down completely after The Boat*, this was an event held on a Thames river boat by The Firm, a night of debauchery over water. Sparkle, Butler, and I were attending on behalf of the site and I was accompanied by Dawn. Events run by The Firm tend to be on the smaller side but very entertaining, they have an emphasis on play and The Firm are very keen on informed consent so there was no old school style torture, just people keen to explore their limits and try out new toys.

We arrived at the pier and parked up only to discover that we were at the wrong place. As it was only a five minute walk to the right place and very difficult to find a parking space on the Embankment we decided to walk.

We were a minute or so from the car when a light rain began, a minute later this had turned into a moderate rain. Although Dawn and I were both wearing coats she was wearing a full length dress and very light shoes, the hem of her dress and her shoes were soaked through by the time we made it to the right pier.

Getting soaked had put Dawn in a right mood, on top of that one, we were underway, and we would be stuck on the boat for at least four hours without a break. About five minutes into the journey she gave me hell, calling me names, disparaging my sense, wondering why I couldn’t get the right place, asking why I forced her to walk in the rain. It was surely one of the finest moments of my life and it was witnessed at close range by Sparkle and Butler who sat next to us aghast as Dawn poured out a steady stream of accusations and invective.

Eventually the torrent ran down and Dawn went off to the toilet to salvage her dress and shoes. Sparkle took one look at me and told me that I had to get away from her. Butler rapidly confirmed her opinion and the three of us talked while Dawn was busy. She soon returned, an attempt at a smile on her face, and suggested I buy her a drink. Resigned to an evening of hell I took her to the bar leaving Sparkle and Butler to their own devices. Dawn drank too much and stood up, pushing me back when I tried to stand while saying ‘you’ve done enough already’. She walked off and I sat there thinking, wondering what to do.

Sparkle and Butler found me a few minutes later and dragged me along with them as they toured the boat, checking out the restaurant space below decks, the playroom on the upper deck, and then getting some fresh air in the bow where we watched London glide by, all lit up at night. I began to feel better and cheered up a bit thanks to their friendship.

We went back indoors and I watched them hunt down a little submissive guy that they played with for a while. I saw nothing of Dawn until an hour or so later when I saw her walking through the playroom on the arm of a short uniformed creep, one of the old school ‘Masters’, she feigned ignoring as she went by, laughing drunkenly at every word of the pint sized prick.

I managed to avoid Dawn for a couple more hours by taking photos of the clubbers and some lovely shots of London at night. Eventually Sparkle found me sitting on the bow, soaking in the fresh night air as the boat headed back into London. We were nearing the Embankment and I thought that we would be docking fairly soon.

‘You have to come see this’ Sparkle said, a grimace on her face.

I followed Sparkle into the playroom to see the pint sized master spanking a slender girl in stockings and suspenders; she was bent over a bench with her naked arse in the air. A moment later I realised that it was Dawn who was the one who was displayed so brazenly and that she was enjoying every minute. I watched dumbfounded as the uniformed weasel rubbed his hand on her pussy and slipped his fingers inside her in between laying slaps on her cheeks. This was my girlfriend he was fucking about with and I was going to lay the little cunt out right now.

I lurched forward, intent on pummelling the little prick, but Sparkle’s hand on my arm held me back.

‘It’s not worth it’ she said, and then looked horrified with herself for making such a banal statement. Sparkle was endearingly middle class and her real name was Tracey, so she must have felt as if she’d tuned into an episode of Eastenders when uttering those words.

The look of self loathing on her face was enough to make me throw up a brief bark of laughter. I slumped and sat down, all the furious energy fallen away from me leaving just a resentful inner fire.

‘She won’t be able to drive home’ I said to Sparkle ‘I’ve got her keys’

‘Give them to Captain Cupcake.’ she said ‘we’ll give you a lift home’

I stood up and walked over to the scene. Looming over the short uniformed player I tapped him on the shoulders.

‘You’ll need these.’ I said handing over the keys ‘Try sticking them up her arse’ and with that I turned and walked away, a terrible weight lifting from my shoulders.

This wasn’t the last of my relationship with Dawn but it certainly was the template for future episodes. If only I’d known, but love is strange, even when someone has betrayed you, you can’t help still loving them. Even when you know they will betray you again you can’t help loving them. All you can do is hope they’ll change.

*The Boat is an event organised by The Firm it’s 20th anniversary is/was on June 22nd 2013.