Some things are not finite, zero-sum equations. Love, compassion, creativity are all things that can come in abundance. Others, like money, time, physical (and sometimes emotional) energy can be trickier.
Folks close to me probably know I’ve been through a tough month or two ( nothing too major, but a house move, work stuff and a touch of depression) and this has had an impact on my time, energy and money availability. Something had to give and, right now, I think the best option is to skip the Berlin Porn Film Festival.
It sucks to not be going. Last year was my first experience of the festival and I came home buzzing with ideas and creative energy. Hell, it pushed me to start making my own films and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get one ready to submit and feed back into this gorgeous creative melting pot of sexuality.
But I plan to be there next year, and at the London festival before then.
In the meantime, as a sort of apology I’m planning on releasing a trailer for the film I shot with Fauni Cate this summer… Just as soon as I get the darn thing edited.
So, this came up on my news feed and made me chuckle.
It’s a no-context screen shot from an episode of Peep Show. I presume David Mitchell’s character is expressing disdain for porn… Either that or the guy’s into some dark nihilistic stuff (which sounds pretty hot in its own right).
But I wanted to contrast that with my experience earlier this week. I was somewhere out in leafy suburbia shooting spanking porn with the ever-fantastic Pandora Blake and Adele Haze. We were working on the next addition to the Havering Collection; a charming collection of vignettes set around a private school where the staff seem to spend an inordinate amount of time dishing out corporal punishments on each other (I was reprising my role as Danny, the world’s least competent gardener).
The atmosphere on set was, well, fun. There was laughter, there were smiles, there were elaborate headcanons, and occasional carry-on style mugging for the camera. I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for darkness in pornography. Just that, if dead eyes are all you find, you’re probably not looking hard enough.
I think it was Robert Bloch who, when discussing the difficulties of growing up in the great depression said:
“You work or you starve. I decided to combine the two by becoming a writer.”
There’s whole volumes written on the subject of perceptual value, and on the role of social contracts. I’ll bludgeon both fields horribly by summarising that writing is horribly undervalued.
What’s more, the current paradigm pushes people to accept less than is reasonable for their writing. There’s a pervasive attitude in some sectors (including some parts of the fanfic community) that think writing is a passion (ok) and therefore shouldn’t be paid for (definitely not ok).
Now, I’ve posted writing for free. Hell, this very blog post is taking time and energy I could put towards some other project). And yes that’s my choice. But this choice is also a part of the current societal norms on writing.
What I’m arguing is that, just because something is the norm, doesn’t make it ideal or even ok.
So, why am I writing this? Is there a point?
Well yes, sort of. In my own, clumsy way I’m going to try to nudge things in the right direction.
I’m literally putting my money where my mouth is by hereby offering to begin publishing other people’s erotica on this blog and paying (albeit a token amount) for it.
I’m planning on posting one guest story per month, on a non-exclusive basis (so writers are free to cross-post or sell as they see fit), for which I offer a token payment of £10 (which I hope to increase).
Ideally stories should aim for 500 words, but there’s flexibility on this.
Posting stories to this blog is entirely at my discretion and I reserve the right to edit (lightly) if necessary and with the author’s consent. If I and the author agree to a story getting posted here I’ll pay them.
Usual content guidelines (no bestiality, rape or paedophilia) with usual exceptions for werewolves.
I can’t guarantee I’ll respond to all submissions but I’ll try.
I know £10 doesn’t begin to cover the time and effort it takes to write a good story (hence the non-exclusive rights mentioned above), and I won’t pretend that this is a “fair” price for one’s labour.
I’m also aware that I’ll probably stand to gain more from this offer than authors, I’ll be getting high quality blog content, they’ll get posted on a very lightly trafficked blog (Hi Mum!). So please bear this in mind before choosing to submit. Obviously I’ll do my best to boost authors’ blogs with links, tweets etc.
I have a story (that I’m very proud of) appearing in the upcoming “Amorous Congress” anthology, edited by F.Leonora Solomon.
The king Arthur porn film is still in post production (software issues) and I’ll begin submitting it to film festivals when complete. No it won’t be at Berlin, but I’m hoping to be there for at least part of the festival.
Yes of course I’m bubbling over with potential porn project ideas, including “Hung Parliament” and “Penis of Rage”
This post is, in part, ar response to DJ Fet’s recent one entitled “Hetero Cis Men“. In which they make some very fair points not just about an understandable reluctance to play with HCMs, but also acknowledging that most are genuinely trying to do the right thing within a restricted set of conflicting social parameters. It’s a good post, you should read it. However, I do want to offer a counterpoint.
A little while back I got a message from a friend about a friend of theirs who was looking for some advice on how to get into the local rope scene. It’s not an unreasonable request and I’ll admit that I was pretty flattered to be thought of as a good person to turn to. They linked me through to a post said friend of friend had made describing their thoughts/feelings/experiences and my heart sank. Not because I couldn’t think of any advice to give this person, but because I genuinely don’t think they were in the right place to be able to hear it constructively.
Anyway, this is my blog and one of the benefits is that I’m addressing the void of the internet and can put things as bluntly as I like, so here is the advice I feel I could not give:
First and foremost, before anything else and before any progress of any sort can be made there is one lesson that needs to be learned, not just academically, but in a deep visceral way; the universe doesn’t owe you shit!
I mean it. Without thoroughly grasping that lesson (and I mean thoroughly grasping, complete with letting go of the self-pitying “life is so hard” attitude) you will not get far. People can tell when they’re being treated as things, it pours off people like a bad smell and few things are a bigger red-flag and turn-off than someone who feels they’re being hard done to if you don’t do X with them.
Now, I want to stress, my point here is not “nobody likes you? Get over it and sod off home loser!” Absolutely not, and I know full well that this is tough, I’ve been there myself, but there is no substitute for going through this. Yes it’s difficult, it involves some potentially quite painful soul-searching. But, here’s the good bit, it makes you a better person. You see, once one gets over oneself, things change. It’s a bit zen, but by letting go of attachment, you just kinda tend to get more of the thing you were looking for anyway (PRIVILEGE CHECK: Holy Hell this is only limited to the tiny reference of my own experience! So please take with ginormous pinch of salt!)
Another aspect of this, though intrinsically tied in with the first is this; learn to accept rejection. Again my emphasis is not “screw you loser!” but rather that, when asking someone for something, a ‘no’ has to be ok. And when I say ok, I mean just as ok as a ‘yes’, as easy to say and with absolutely no pushback, hesitation or repercussions. Because otherwise the question or offer isn’t just what it is, it then comes with a huge weight of presumption and expectation and privilege behind it (see aforementioned turn-off). Some even advise deliberately practicing rejection by asking for things where you are almost completely certain that the answer will be ‘no’, I wouldn’t necessarily go that far, but even giving that exercise some serious thought can bring home the gulf between what most people think and fear about rejection and the reality. Put simply, if ‘no’ isn’t an ok answer for you to hear, then you shouldn’t be asking the question.
As previously stated I’m no expert and this is simply my opinion based on my own meandering experience. So be gentle yeah?
So, it’s been a while, months in fact. I don’t really have any excuse except that I’ve been busy with real life stuff and people stuff. Nothing bad, in fact it’s fair to say that things are going pretty bloody brilliantly at the moment. But I’ve let my writing and my blogging slip, and that’s something I’m planning on correcting, starting now:
Now, don’t for a microsecond think that I haven’t been doing anything. In fact the fruits of one of my labours is about to come to full ripeness. That’s right, my directorial porn debut is right around the corner.
Porn is stern serious stuff…
I’ll be posting more about the festival at the time and hopefully afterwards, but for now I just want to give a little glimpse behind the curtain of this project.
It all started when I spotted a post by Whatever World about the upcoming London Porn Film Festival. Very much like the Berlin Porn Film Festival, this one seeks to embrace all manner of queer feminist indie porn. I went to the Berlin festival back in October so the prospect of having something similar in London was absolutely fantastic. What was even better was when I realised that the deadline for submissions hadn’t passed yet.
That said, the deadline was only a handful fo days away, surely too short to find a suitable performer, equipment, crew and teach myself film-making. Well that’s what I thought as I idly started sending out feelers… except the feelers struck gold in the form of the very lovely Fauni Cate. Fauni was available that weekend… as was I.
What followed was an incredibly intense few days wherein we made arrangements, I secured camera equipment and with the help of some friends managed to pull together everything necessary to make a film in a terrifyingly short space of time. It involved late nights, confusion, stress, occasional tears, especially when my poor five-year-old laptop crashed mid-edit and a near breakdown while trying to comprehend how video compression works.
And looking back on it now it’s strange to see the film, that strange island of intimacy and sensuality amidst the chaos of working to an impossible deadline.
So yes it’s a little rough around the edges, but given the circumstances I’m incredibly proud of this film and everyone involved in making it.
It’s called “Fauni Thighs” and will be played as part of the “Kick Ass Love” programme showing at 17:30 this Friday 7th April and 22:30 Saturday 8th. I’ll be there 🙂 I hope as many lovely folks as can make it will be there too.
Yes, you read that right so buckle up and hang-on tight. We’re going in baby!
So, a friend of mine recently tagged me in a post on Facebook, linking to this image
It was mildly entertaining, some quite accurate tropes. And I’ll admit I was a little disappointed to find out that male slave Leias is common enough to be a ‘thing’ at conventions (I thought I was so special).
As is almost inevitable on the internet, a comment appeared that pointed out that the comic makes explicit reference to “fat dudes” but doesn’t do so for female bodied people. Needless to say the person who placed this comment preceded down a tediously predictable route of escalation, inflammation and outright trolling. I didn’t want to waste my energy there but I did want to expound a little on a couple of points.
First up, let the record show that I’m writing this as a clinically obese short guy with ridiculous facial hair and a lisp. I’m also writing this as someone who’s gone through their own struggles with negative body image and low self esteem (which is material for a blog post that I’m not ready to write yet).
Essentially the argument came down to, “So you’re ok with people using the term ‘fat dudes’?” and, in short, my answer is yes. It’s yes for two very different reasons.
First up, I find that it’s a really helpful way of filtering for arseholes. Basically anyone who references my body shop as a pejorative immediately flags themselves as a bit of a shallow person who really isn’t worth spending my time and attention on.
The second reason stems much more from context. You see, when someone calls me fat, it isn’t the same as when someone calls a woman fat. Why? Because when someone calls me fat it doesn’t come with an implicit threat of sexual violence.
“Whoa now; wait a minute!” cries the comment-troll, “surely saying you’re not attracted to someone is the absolute opposite of threatening sexual violence?”
Which completely misses the point. It’s not suggesting that someone is attractive that carries the threat, it’s the simple attitude of being free to comment and pass judgement on women’s bodies that’s threatening. It perpetuates the attitude that women’s bodies are not their own, that your opinion matters. So the woman you call fat is both being insulted but, also, is being reminded that they could be the target of sexual aggression. Just not from this guy, this particular time, because they’ve deemed it so. Aren’t you lucky, shouldn’t you be grateful?
So, can I tolerate a supposed double standard around “fat dudes” actually yes, yes I can.
Imagine you’re a necromancer (trust me, there are boob jokes coming, I swear). Your ultimate goal is to raise a terrifying army of the undead right? But nobody can just do that straight off the bat. I mean if it were that easy we’d be swamped in apocalyptic hordes.
It stands to reason that before you can raise a terrifying horde, you need to start a little smaller… by raising an annoying army of the undead. You know, a horde of animated corpses that, instead of killing, mutilating and dismembering people, will just sort of, get in the way. You wake up in the morning and you can’t find your car keys, why? Because the annoying army of the undead have hidden them. You go through to the kitchen and they’ve used all the milk, forcing you to have dry cornflakes… you get the idea.
That’s what I thought of the first time I encountered an “Internet of Things” device. The “IoT” (as it’s referred to by utter bell-ends) is the idea of having lots and lots of objects and appliances all connected to the internet so they can talk to each other, to you and to relevant outside parties. So, your fridge spots when a zombie has slugged the last of your semi-skimmed and orders a fresh pint from the milkman (do we still have milk men? Where am I? What year is it? Who stole all my clothes?). It’s potentially a revolutionary technology. It’s also, I think it’s fair to say, utterly shit at the moment in terms of cyber security.
So when I first saw an IoT device (a light-bulb in a friend’s living room) I immediately assumed that hackers will, at some point, gain complete control over it. Which is probably fine. I mean what’s the worst they can do, turn it to a really obnoxious shade of yellow? turn it on in the middle of the night hoping to startle you as you make a late-night pee run? It’s the annoying army of the undead, but in cyber terms (do people still use the word “cyber”? What century am I living in, the twentieth?)
But this is the modern world, and the great thing about technology is that it’s only a matter of turning your back on it for a second and then BAM! somebody’s put knobs on it (and probably, boobs too). Thus, it wasn’t entirely surprising for me when the first I heard about the We-Vibe IoT vibrator was in a news report that simultaneously said it was hackable, oh, and that it was harvesting a hefty amount of data on its use to send back to its makers. The full article is here.
So the zombies have crawled into bed and are taking notes and, potentially, grabbing a quick fumble when your back’s turned. Now, I’m not saying the horrific sapient toaster apocalypse is upon us, but this could be how it all begins, not with a bang, but a whimper.
The ever-lovely Horny Geek Girl recently gave me a goodie bag she picked up at the ETO show 2016. It was a pretty full one and, as I upended it and let the contents sprawl over my floor I started sifting through the contents. And as I sifted I became distressingly aware of how much effort had gone into things that I was dumping straight into my “bin” pile.
A friend once told me that the greatest honour you can show for a gift is to use it. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d offer up my view on what I find in goodie bags from adult industry events and what stays and what goes:
Flyers – bin
They don’t provide a huge amount of information and, even if it is something I’m interested in, I’m unlikely to keep a pile of loose paper and card kicking about for long, it makes the place untidy and is, quite often, not very actionable (more on this later).
“But wait!” I hear you cry, “Charlie Forrest, you’re a dirty damned liar, I’ve seen your flat!” Well, yes, ok my flat doesn’t need any help to look untidy, but at least by pro-actively dumping fliers I stop it getting any worse.
Business cards – bin
Unless I’ve actually been chatting to you and been physically handed one of these then it’s not going to work, I just haven’t made a connection, so these fall into the same category as the flyers.
Sweets – Nibbles pile
These can vary from the god-awful (seriously, love-hearts? Am I five? Those things taste like lightly sweetened asbestos) to the actually pretty nice (mini bar of Green & Blacks, you can come again!) The upper echelons of these might end up in my play bag for aftercare purposes.
Lube and condoms – sex kit
Bottles of lube are fantastic and definitely find a place in my bedroom. Sachets can be put into a little purse with condoms for portability, both very welcome. The only slight drawback is some folks have preferences for lube and/or condoms that work well for them. Parabens, latex or coatings that make sensitive bits “tingle” are all potential deal-breakers.
Little vibrators – sex kit
I think the perfect trio to have in an emergency sex kit is condoms, lube and a small (but powerful) bullet vibrator. These definitely find use, sometimes lots of use.
Big Vibrators -Oh yeah!
Unless you’re providing an item from a company that’s made a series of exceedingly poor marketing decisions, a high quality toy will probably earn it a great deal of appreciation and maybe even a review depending on who receives it.
Keyrings – keep
These are useful, but the solid built and/or entertaining ones are best. The key (art art) factor is that they need to be small. I sometimes send my leg numb with my keys as it is without adding to the bulk of them.
T-shirts – keep
If it fits I’ll wear it, if it fits and has a cool design I’ll wear it a lot! If it fits, has a cool design and isn’t too explicitly adult I’ll even happily wear it in public. Even an ill-fitting or ghastly t-shirt can often find use… I mean I only have so many socks right? Alternatively, a t-shirt that truly won’t fit can always be reduced to rags for cosplay purposes… although the company logo may no longer be legible.
There are two key factors to making a really good bit of giveaway material (in my humble opinion). Usability and acitonability. So on the usability front, flyers are pretty poor. sweets better, stationary, toys, lube and condoms all good, as are a variety of novel items I’ve encountered in the past (Renee Rose’s spanking paddles from Eroticon 2014 for example). But this needs to be followed through. Put simply, a novelty flogger isn’t any more than a novelty unless you can actually use it.
The second point is actionability. Assuming I like you/your work/your product, there needs to be a straightforward way for me to do something about it. Again flyers are really bad for this, it’s typically an interface between me, a piece of card and then having to get a phone or laptop and manually enter a web address. It’s probably going to be less effective than a half litter bottle of “lubey armstrong” that sits next to my bed and I reach for twice a day or “sexponies.com” catching my eye every time I reach for my keys and see that adorable rainbow unicorn keyring.