Splashing through muddy puddles in my heels I wasn’t convinced that a rugby club was the best place to hold – as Club Spank calls it – a ‘fluffy fetish’ event. Even though it was just on the outskirts of Brighton, initially the (almost) countryside venue seemed an inconvenience, since missing the minibus organised by the club meant one of us reluctantly had to become the designated driver. We knew that there had been random issues with previous venues for Spank (one changed ownership, another closed down altogether) but it’s a sad day when even the ‘b-right-on’ city of Brighton isn’t actively embracing the BDSM banknote. Tsk…
Luckily, the rugby club had already pretty much seen it all courtesy of its own members. Whilst the bar staff looked mildly bemused at the scene unfolding before them, one let slip that the mezzanine above their heads had been known to boast drunken rugby fans and players partying in various states of undress, and that the Spank faithful were wearing considerably more clothes than their usual clientele!
Indeed, the evening’s theme ‘The Age of Corsets’ was interpreted fairly liberally by all and sundry: there were the ubiquitous topless beauties (men included) wearing waspies, some in face-to-floor festish gear, others in fairly straight or festival fashion and lots of gorgeous tattoos on show generating natural conversational ice-breakers.
Because if there’s one consistent comment we hear about the better-known fetish nights in this part of the country – especially those in the capital – it’s that they can have an unwelcome, exclusive air. Maybe it’s the London about them, maybe it’s the competitive couture latex. Thankfully the Spank crew could not be said to be the same: clubbers were warm, chatty, dressed-up but not ‘up-themselves’: altogether a great bunch of party-goers. Where else would strangers introduce themselves to you before presenting you to mutual strangers, all genuinely content to spend mingling? From conversations about fetishes and personal experiences through martial arts and Physics(!) to just general banter, the Spank crowd were an inclusive lot and this really added to the friendly feel of the night.
Downstairs in the dungeon (AKA the rugby club changing rooms) it was a similar scene, only with fetish furniture and public spankings. Being November the dungeons could have done with a heater or two, and the smaller of the rooms could have done with some suitable low-lighting rather than super-sterile brightness. Various comments were also made about the lack of available spanking equipment, as people were invited to bring their own paddles, canes and feathers (no doubt for hygiene reasons) but had clearly forgotten in the excitement of getting ready for the party. In any case, we’ll forgive these omissions in light of the convivial atmosphere amongst the observers conversing on the changing room benches. After all, there’s nothing like a good public punishment to bring people together (although the term ‘fluffy fetish’ is of course happily open to interpretation)…
No doubt the reasonably priced drinks at the out-of-town venue didn’t harm the social lubrication, and with loud music and cheeky couples there is great potential in using somewhere rural come Spring and Summer (the smoking balcony in particular will benefit from the lighter nights and brighter views across the Downs). And yes, there were a few rough edges already being addressed after the inaugural night of this unlikely venue, but generally Spank’s organisers did an impressive job planning a fun event to which Cliterati will return again: after all, one can never have enough friends. Or fun!
Party with Club Spank during Brighton Fetish Weekend, 10th-12th April 2015
If you’re stuck for some seriously stylish and effortlessly cool yet comfortable weekend wear – and let’s face it, a big woolly jumper or hoodie isn’t always appropriate – then you need look no further than Ratti Apparel. Casual and classy, the collection comprises loose vests and batwing sweaters with quirky embroidered designs inspired by the city of Brighton, such as dressed-up dogs, tattoos, the gambling machines on Brighton Palace Pier, and the Swallows that gather in huge numbers around the crumbling West Pier en route to warmer climes.
Ratti Apparel is the brainchild of Annette Ratti, who after 10 years creating ideas and designs for the best in the industry for designers such as the Kate Moss collection for Topshop, Ted Baker and DKNY, decided to launch her own label. Using a specially developed signature embroidery technique, Annette creates products that are completely unique, which are made using materials sourced from ethical suppliers. Design, production and finishing is carried out by local people in The North West and Manchester. These are designs that can’t be found on the high street, but can be found in selected boutiques countrywide – and lucky for us, they can also be bought online, where our money’s on the Dog In Bonnet jumper and the Life Is Beautiful top. Ratti Apparel: single-handedly bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase TGI Friday.
This piece was first posted on Cliterati
These fabulous white cowboy boots come from a vintage-clothes-cum-antiques store in Hastings old town, and not only do they fit me, but they’re actually a bit too big – unheard of for someone with my hulking great UK8 (European 41/42) size feet!
What to wear with cowboy boots? Well, a shirt and some denim, of course! So here I am in a pair of Topshop cutoff shorts (with obligatory pockets peeping through), and a cotton Topshop shirt: I may have never dug the double-denim look, but I do love a crisp white shirt!
The pully’s a Primark special, whilst the jacket is leather and silver (my favourite combination!) from a thrift store in Brighton. Cowgirl heaven indeed…
This pair of Kurt Geiger Snakeskin Salem boots (see previous Geiger Counter post for more details) are fantastically appropriate footwear for unpredictable Spring weather (if I’m allowed to call it Spring yet?!).
The perfect foil to any unexpected shower, these fakey snakey bikers look funky and fresh with any outfit – and give my smart pink 3/4 length Karen Millen coat a suitably subversive and casual twist.
I live on the South coast where it’s invariably brisk and brrreeezy, so along with the rest of Brighton I’m still wearing my winter woollies (which maybe answers my Spring question above!).
Today’s long, silver-grey glitterball-style sequinned jumper is by Fenn Wright Manson. Its delicate colour and scalloped edges remind me of oysters – and lovely lady parts, which is perhaps why subconsciously I find it so appealing! It’s lovely and long and wonderfully warm, and it belts up beautifully. Plus, when the light shines on the sequins I become my own little glitter ball – which the kids just love! I’m not one for muted colours, but this textured top magically lifts my spirits every time I put it on.
Unable to avoid my favoured colour-clash fashion entirely, however, I’m wearing these KG snakeskin boots, FWM silver-sequinned jumper and KM pink coat combination with an flippy orange dress from Dorothy Perkins.
Thus attired, I am ready and prepared for any meteorological eventuality, and fashion-forward whatever the weather!
Today’s school-run shoes are a departure from my usual brightly coloured footwear, being as they are a pair of nude Carvela heels from the Kurt Geiger store in Brighton.
They incorporate hidden platforms under the balls of the feet, which make walking more pleasant. But I’d be kidding if I said they were my most comfortable shoes, as their rounded fronts make them serious toe squeezers!
I’ve also noticed that being both nude and patent they mark extremely easily.
So all in all, these are neither my most practical or comfortable heels, but they’re rather pretty none the less – although perhaps a bit too safe and inoffensive for my liking, which is why I like to pair them with my usual bright and questionable clothes, just to shake it up a bit!
And since nude heels make my legs look endless, wearing tasteful and unadventurous footwear is a sacrifice I’m willing to make – for once!
Being a (mostly) happily married woman, it isn’t often that I find myself at the city’s Sexual Health clinic, and even more unlikely that I should be there first thing on a Monday morning. After all, instead of going out on the town, getting trolleyed, and losing my inhibitions maybe a little too much, I’d actually stayed in all weekend, and I hadn’t really done anything I shouldn’t have – well, not really…
No, I was at the Clap Clinic to offer support to my friend Claire* who had been, in the immortal words of Beyoncé Knowles in Lady Gaga’s utterly fabulous video Telephone “a very bad girl! A very, very, bad, bad girl”. Not that I’m jealous of her single-girl activities or anything – honest! But leading a rather more dull life than I’d once envisioned, I couldn’t help but notice a twinge of something at her account of the weekend’s shenanigans chez Claire – regret? Nostalgia? OK, I’ll admit it: maybe there was a leeettle jealousy involved – but only a little bit!
Anyway, as a housewife who’s at home during the day, I often get called on to accompany friends to hospital appointments, wedding dress fittings and the like. I’d been to the clinic before, when my husband and I first got together – after all, it’s always good to have a thorough sexual MOT before you embark on a protection-free relationship – but this Monday morning was a first.
On my previous visit I’d marvelled at the good humour and tolerance shown by the clearly extremely busy health clinicians, neatly efficient, clipboards in hand, calling visitors by their first names into one room, then shortly after, exiting – as if by magic – by another door entirely. Exceedingly welcoming, kind and non-judgemental, as a patient you just know that these guys have seen it all, and that therefore they’re neither bothered nor surprised by what you’ve come to share with them. These health workers are so utterly un-shockable, so forearmed with a wealth of personal and professional experience, that they manage to make an excruciatingly embarrassing situation into an impressively non-humiliating experience. On this Claire and I agreed wholeheartedly.
And needless to say, after a busy Brighton weekend the place was heaving. Waiting with Claire I took the opportunity for some serious people watching. It might not have been a Parisian café-scape, but it was entertainment of sorts to help pass the time, and with all the busy-ness of Piccadilly Circus on a Saturday night there was a fair amount of action going on.
There was the middle-class married mum, my age, with her young daughter in a buggy. There were plenty of teenage boys and many surly young girls, and I exchanged a few bashful smiles with the friends of friends of friends I spotted. But mostly – unlike the midweek afternoon when I’d previously visited the clinic – on this particular Monday morning there were numerous gay men, aged mid-twenties to sixties, running the entire gamut of their sexuality: tearing up stereotypes and showing up sub-tribes.
Of course, Brighton being an unashamedly bohemian environment with a high gay occupancy, this was bound to be the case. It made me think that if this hadn’t been an STI clinic, it would have presented quite a good dating opportunity! It also made me glad my husband wasn’t bisexual (he tried it once but decided it wasn’t for him), as I don’t think I could deal with him potentially fancying the whole of Brighton – between us, with our former joint track record, we could have ended up camping outside the Clap Clinic every Sunday night!
*Not Gemma’s real name, obviously, or she’d kill me! 😉
Whilst writing this post I listened to the following on Spotify:
Zola Jesus – Stridulum II (which was a bit dull, really, but easy to have in the background while I was tapping away)
Niki & The Dove – DJ, Ease My Mind; Under the Bridges, The Fox (equally dull – could have been written by Zola Jesus)
Emeli Sandé – Heaven (trying too hard to sound like Massive Attack’s Unfinished Sympathy); Easier in bed acoustic version (really rather pleasant, shows Emeli’s vocal skills off nicely)
Cocknbullkid – Adulthood (not great, but unapologetic pop, and a relief after the grisly dirges from the above artists)
MJ Cole – Sincere (Ahhh, I remember this album, and his older, classic single of the same name: those were the days…)