Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kaelah's Corner (Oct 2009):

This is part two of my post about my personal fantasies. Last month I wrote about the different kinds of scenarios I have on my mind and how they changed and developed over time. It was very enlightening for me to write down my own fantasies, to sort and categorize them. This did not only help me to get an overview of my kinky desires and personal development. It also helped me to understand why certain scenarios don’t work for me – at least not at the moment.

My personal limits have been worrying me for quite a while – and they sometimes still do. I often have the feeling that the scenes that work for me and which I would like to play out are very limited compared with the fantasies others describe.

That is not a problem per se, but it becomes one when it gives me the feeling that I can’t fulfil Ludwig’s desires and fantasies. As a top, he is more open for different kinds of scenarios than I am as a bottom. He says that he is happy in our relationship, and I know that he would never force me to overstep my personal limits. But still, I sometimes have a bad conscience. And it gives me a bad feeling that I can’t share his enthusiasm about certain scenarios and experiences he has made. I already wrote about that issue in one of my comments on Ludwig’s shoot with Mood Pictures. I still haven’t seen the resulting film, yet.

So, for a long time I only focused on what doesn’t work and desperately tried to find a way to “overcome” my boundaries. I want Ludwig’s and my relationship to be very exclusive. This means that I don’t want him to engage in spanking play with others. I’ll write more about that in my future posts. Just that much – I now know why I’m so jealous and have such strict limits concerning this topic. It has to do with my spanking fantasies as well as with what I’m seeking in a love relationship.

Since I’m longing for that exclusiveness, my biggest fear is, of course, not being “enough” for Ludwig. I’ve been afraid that my limits would result in Ludwig finding himself someone else with whom to explore those kinds of fantasies I can’t share. That’s why I’ve seen my boundaries as a stain I have to get rid of.

And Ludwig is much more experienced and has been part of the scene for much longer than me. In his mind, that is not a problem at all. But for me, it created pressure to keep up with him in order to reach a point at some time in the future when we would be at eye level. I’ve also been afraid that Ludwig wouldn’t consider me to be tough or courageous enough for him. I have often had the impression that what I have to offer can’t compete with the experiences Ludwig made in the past, especially with those he shared with Niki Flynn. Not only is she a beautiful, courageous and experienced woman; the two of them also shared an enthusiasm for dark and sometimes hard scenes which I can hardly eroticise. These thoughts have also made me think that I must learn as much as I can and make as many experiences as possible in order to become an equal mate for Ludwig. Again, the question of trying to keep up with a more experienced partner is an interesting topic of its own – so I might better discuss it in more detail in another post. For now, I just mentioned it to illustrate why I have felt such a high pressure to expand my boundaries.

Furthermore, I have the feeling that my fantasies and the mindsets I’m seeking are quite uncommon. Usually, I’m very comfortable with being different from others. But in this case, I have simply felt insufficient. I always stuck to the rule that people either accept and like me the way I am or they don’t – and then it’s their problem, not mine. This is the first time I want to be an accepted member of a community. The reason is that the kinky world means a lot to Ludwig and I want to be liked and accepted by the people who are important to him. I’ve never done something like that for someone else before and it has made me feel very insecure.

The fact that my spanking desires seem to be so different from the fantasies others describe resulted in another strange episode. I developed the idea that if a) many other spankos longed for scenarios I didn’t seem to be able to eroticise, and if b) it made me feel that uncomfortable to think about overstepping my limits and trying those scenes, then maybe I just had issues with my kink and only pretended not to have those fantasies? So I started to mistrust myself and to feel more and more trapped. Ludwig of course realised that my thoughts were circling around certain scenarios which I told him I was NOT interested in. That confused him and made him suspicious about what really was behind all those thoughts, too.

The reason why I haven’t followed the urge to “overcome” my boundaries was that I already made the experience in the past that I shouldn’t overstep my personal limits – unless the aim was to ruin my health. So, instead, I was chasing my tail for quite some time and didn’t find a way out of the dilemma.

Luckily, talking a lot to Ludwig and writing down my fantasies helped me to see things in a new light. First of all, I’m absolutely sure now that I don’t have any issues with my kink. I really can’t eroticise certain scenarios at the moment because my fantasies and desires are simply different.

Dealing with the other fears I described is a bit more difficult, though. But I’ve calmed down a bit by now and try to take things easier. Ludwig hasn’t got any problems not to engage in private play with others (as long as this isn’t anything I want to try) and to focus on the development of our relationship. This makes me feel more secure and less under pressure. And although I can’t cover all the scenarios that would be interesting for him, there is still a lot to explore together that’ll keep us busy for quite a while.

So, there is no need to “overcome” any boundaries. I’m not sure why I developed the idea that I need to share every sexual spanking fantasy others have. After all, this is not a competition. It’s about exploring personal intimate desires with someone one trusts. And I have found that special someone for me, who tells me that he loves me and that I’m good enough for him.

Still, it is interesting to have a closer look at what doesn’t currently work for me. Not to make a list of limits I have to get rid of, but as a basis to better understand my longings and desires, and as a complement view of what my personal kinky fantasies are all about.

So, what are the things I don’t want to try at the moment? To name them in a short list: I don’t long for “Being Broken”, “Real Life Domestic Discipline”, “Dark Scenes” and “Playing With Others / Strangers”.

Being Broken

I already described in part one of this post that most of my spanking fantasies today are about rituals, growth, self-confidence, warriors and heroines. Being broken clearly doesn't fit into that frame. Furthermore, I associate being broken with overstepping my limits. That's something I have done in the past, something that's connected with very negative memories and feelings. I want my spanking experiences to be encouraging, not to show me my boundaries and what I can't take. I know that many spankees experience being broken, surviving and standing up again as something very cathartic and empowering. But for me, it would already feel like not having respected my own limits and having gone one step too far (again).

On the other hand, I want to feel the spanking and don't want to play too soft. Mere love taps might be nice from time to time, but usually I like to feel a little bit more to be satisfied. Finding the right balance is the difficult challenge for Ludwig, as the top. Luckily, he likes my rather quiet and controlled reactions. But they also waken his desire to produce some stronger reactions by pushing a bit harder. Or, as he puts it: “With a rather quiet girl you can be sure that you really worked hard for every moan or writhing you get from her.” And of course - since he is a hard worker – Ludwig has already got louder reactions from me during a spanking; and tears, too.

Louder reactions and comments showing my discomfort are okay for me when I've got the impression that I've fought hard enough to be brave. It's more difficult with tears, though. They are too far away from the reactions I desire and find attractive. But I know that those situations are very special for Ludwig and that I'm completely safe with him. So in a way, that's okay, too, even if I don't get any positive feelings out of it. By the way, not wanting to cry during a spanking definitely hasn't got anything to do with a lack of trust towards Ludwig. I'm not ashamed of crying in his arms and asking him to hold me tight when I'm sad or feeling weak.

One thing is especially critical concerning my limit about being broken, though. As most of you know, Ludwig is a confessing severity freak. That doesn't mean he wants to play very hard all the time. First of all, Ludwig doesn't want to play all the time, anyway. Not taking into account spontaneous swats OTK, we only play every few weeks. And even then, the scenes can be quite light-hearted and not too hard. In fact, Ludwig is of the opinion that a really severe scene, going to the limit, is something one does very rarely. Perhaps only once or twice in a lifetime.

But I know that a part of him wants me to give him that personal present of a really severe scene with him at least once. I would love to do that for him and make that dream come true. And I also thought about the question of whether having experienced a Mood-like spanking myself would reduce the problems I'm having with those severe spanking movies. But there's a voice inside me warning me that my reactions on such a severe CP-scene are going to be so strong that I'm going to feel weak and broken afterwards, even if I somehow manage to get through it.

And I might reproach myself for letting Ludwig inflict such severe marks. Not wanting to injure my body too much is one of the core problems I have with my kink because I strongly believe that my body is a gift that should be treated with care and respect. It's okay for me as long as I've got the impression that I'm keeping a good balance. In case of such a severe scene I might have the feeling that I've gone too far concerning that issue, too. And I don't think that it would be positive for Ludwig's and my relationship if that happened. So I decided to give myself more time and wait until I feel ready for that experience one day- if that day ever comes...

Real Life Domestic Discipline

I don't need someone who tells me how to behave and how to live my life! As a matter of fact, I've taken care of those things on my own for several years now. And the only failure I might be guilty of is having been too strict with myself. Now that I've gotten more relaxed, I don't want another person to give me new rules to obey, again.

And even in case I have done something wrong, DD doesn't work for me for two reasons: First of all, I strongly believe that CP doesn't help to improve my behaviour. For me, it just fulfils a sexual desire. Secondly, taking a spanking doesn't reduce my guilt when I've hurt someone. I'm of the opinion that as an adult, the only way of dealing with a situation like that is trying to understand what went wrong, talking it through with those who got hurt, apologizing and being careful not to make the same mistake again.

Luckily, Ludwig isn't into real life DD, either. But he likes to connect kinky play to real life events. We already had such a scenario (again, another story of its own). I wasn't sure whether integrating my real life offence into our play would work for me or whether it would make things even worse. But Ludwig has got a good feeling for how to make it work for both of us. And I was reassured one more time how deeply I can trust him – that was the really great outcome for me of that particular scene.

Dark Scenes

I use the buzzword “Dark Scenes” in this context for all scenarios I would describe as being cold. This means that, in the scene, the spanker either uses the spankee as a plaything for his own wicked sadistic fun without showing any sympathy or doesn't care about the spankee at all. As I already described in the first part of this post, I'm seeking a close, positive connection between spanker and spankee in a role-play. That's why most of the horror, abuse, prison, interrogation scenarios and so on don't really work for me. However, there is one exception from that rule – my fantasies belonging into the “Klingon Sex” category.

Players With Others / Strangers

At the moment, my main focus lies on connecting and exploring fantasies with that one special person whom I belong to as a mate. This is something completely new for me – and something I've obviously been seeking for a very long time. Integrating other people into our play is something I still consider to interfere with the build-up of that special twosome connection. Therefore, watching Ludwig playing with others makes me feel insufficient, like just being a number (even if it's the number one), sad and jealous (because he shares those special experiences with someone else rather than with me). Fortunately, private play with others isn't that important for Ludwig. So we agreed on no private play with other people, at least as long as I don't have the desire to try it.

However, it is important for Ludwig to make video clips and to shoot a movie from time to time. So I know that this is something I can't take from him. Honestly, although I know that making a film is something completely different from our private play, it still hurts me. Ludwig is very patient with me and tries to help me dealing with it by explaining to me exactly what both things mean to him. I've understood that, for him, making films is all about creating a piece of art, combined with making a kind of field study in erotic fantasies. What scares me to death is the fact that it is vital for Ludwig to make movies with different female spankees he finds interesting and sexy. This makes me feel that no matter what I do, I will never be enough for him on that very personal field of sexuality. Maybe I will learn to see things as differentiated as Ludwig does some day in the future. But honestly, it isn't that easy.

So, these are the things I'm currently not interested in and some ideas of what that means for my relationship with Ludwig. What strikes me is seeing how much I have obviously been longing for finding a mate who stands by my side and whom I trust enough to explore my sexual desires with him. And I realised how much I want to come to rest at his side instead of always having to fight and to prove something. Even within my spanking fantasies, I don't want to be pushed over my limits. Instead, I want to be protected and encouraged and I simply want to fulfil my sexual desires without any further aims or musts. Just being there, feeling good, safe and energized.

Will my fantasies change in the future? Maybe! I wouldn't deny that the possibility is quite high to become more open for different experiences after a certain time of development. Will I try all those things I'm currently not interested in one day? I don't want to rule it out completely, but I don't think so. For example, I can't imagine that I'm going to crave real life domestic discipline one day. Am I curious about where the journey is going to take me / us? Yes, I definitely am! :-)

And, of course, I'm curious about your experiences with your own personal limits. Which boundaries do you have and why? Have they changed over time? Have you made experiences with different boundaries and fantasies in a kinky relationship? How do you deal with that? These are just some of the interesting questions. Whatever comes to your mind, please write it down and post it in the comment section!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Movie Review: Lady Vernon's Caning Heaven 2

(Picture courtesy of Punished Girls, where you can download the movie)

Calstar (released in 2000)

Entire Story In Fewer Words Than Are In This Sentence:
More reform school girls feel the lady's discipline

Victim Appeal:
For fear of stating the obvious, this is the sequel to Lady Vernon's Caning Heaven, and like the first part, it features the woman who is my all-time favourite Calstar top in the title role. How did I describe her in my review of part one? "A stately domme with wild red-brown curls and a cigarette-stained snarl of a voice." Well, yeah. Some flowery adjectives there (for the record, I don't know for a fact that she smokes!), but that pretty much sums it up. By the way, she also starred in Caning International, and I am not alone in being a fan - Lady Vernon, or whatever her scene name was, is the only Calstar top about whom I received inquiries from my readers (no, sorry, I don't know what she's doing these days, either).

Two blonde English lasses get a good thrashing here. One is addressed by the name of Brown in the movie, the other one by the name of Douglas. Both are quite pretty and, as Calstar titles go, they do a decent acting job. Douglas looks familiar somehow, she reminds me a bit of Dublin O'Brien, whom I've seen on Bars and Stripes and other British spanking sites. [Edit: However, Dublin wrote to me and let me know that it definitely isn't her!]

Gratuitous Sadism:
Brown and Douglas play two reform school girls, and the video opens with them being punished for having had boys in their room. So, the headmaster puts Brown over his knee. We already know him from the original Caning Heaven - he's the fair-haired chap familiar from many Calstar productions, like Discipline Within the Home (I love how he always plays headmasters or reformatory directors or whatever with that wild hairstyle of his, plus casual clothes and sports shoes!). It's only a very brief spanking scene, less than two minutes, with some hand swats on the clothes.

The girls don't take the punishment seriously. When they keep mocking the headmaster and Brown refuses to have her pants pulled down, he calls Lady Vernon from down the road. She impressed him so much with the job she did the other day, with the two students who had been stealing her apples, that he decides to enlist her "services" officially this time. "Yes, we would pay you, obviously!" he enthuses on the phone. "If they come back with the same results as those other two, I think we could have a regular contract with you."

He drives the two unruly students over to Lady Vernon's mansion. What follows are two typical California Star spanking sessions. First an OTK part (first over the pants, then over the knickers, then on the bare), followed by the spankee bending over a sofa for a dose of the leather (rubber?) paddle, followed by a dose with another, thinner paddle (the girl is fully naked by this point), followed by a final caning. Brown is the first to get it, and then Douglas receives the exact same treatment. Needless to say, the two are very meek and contrite by the end - looks like the headmaster enlisted the right woman. Actually, they were meek and contrite all throughout the session...

These are two of the better CP sessions I've seen from Calstar, in terms of action as well as atmosphere. The room where everything takes place, with its big windows and a view of the garden, makes for a fine-looking location. There is a quiet, but intense chemistry between the players. And the spankings are pretty hard, as usual from this domme. She really likes her job. Calstar shows the action from different perspectives, as they always do, so it isn't easy to say how many individual strokes each spankee gets during the caning at the end. My best estimate is that Brown takes around 15 strokes and Douglas around 12 (however, the latter caning is the harder of the two). Both are left with visibly reddened bottoms and some very nice welts.

Best Reactions:
I like the reactions of the spankees a lot, and they are in fact a big part of why this is one of my favourite Calstar videos. Both girls are very quiet and very restrained, but their gasps, painful grimaces and buckling knees show that they are feeling the beatings. Brown lets out a few suppressed moans during her caning - when you elicit a noise from a girl like that, it's very satisfying for the top, because you know that you worked hard for it. Some nice moments there. At the end of the day, though, I would have to give the nod to Douglas (Dublin?). She is even more quiet than her colleague, but the look of wide-eyed, open-mouthed surprise on her face after one of Lady Vernon's cane strokes is priceless. She might as well have said it aloud: "Oh, gosh! That one really hurt!"

Best Line:
In the opening scene, the headmaster storms into the girls' room and exclaims: "We just saw two men shinnying down your drainpipe here!" That was kind of funny.

Nice Psychological Touch:
I liked the idea of a reform school headmaster enlisting the help of a stern lady from the neighbourhood to discipline the girls - totally goofy, of course, but interesting somehow. And I like the title of these two films in general, "Caning Heaven". You could say that it sort of on the same level as "Caning Palace". Mind you, the name of my blog sounds a lot more dorky in English than it does in German...

How Good Is It Really?
The two "Lady Vernon's Caning Heaven films" are among my favourite California Star titles, and this is the better of the two. As opposed to the first part, where one of the spankees quit early, Lady Vernon does two full CP sessions here, and they are both very good. The location is nice, the two girls are sexy, and there is a palpable atmosphere and intensity to everything. I like this one a lot.

What You Learned:
I tried to find out a bit more about "Lady Vernon" after watching this video again and reviewing it. I know she has been in other CP films as a bottom, at Sting in the Tail, for instance. I always like to see a top who can not only dish out a thrashing, but take one as well! Now I learn that she apparently had a vanilla porn career on the side: the British Girls Adult Film Database lists her under the name Stephanie. I wonder if I should watch "The Continuing Immoral Adventures of Captain Cock and Rodney Rude". That sounds like an interesting title. Or perhaps "European Meat Market 1: London Broil".

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The State of the Spanking News

I usually like the Spanking News, a good source of information about the industry. But I was disappointed by this convoluted and ill-conceived opinion piece last month, titled The State of the Spanking Film. It's basically a call for self-censorship among spanking film producers, and it makes some alarmist claims along the way which one would expect to read in the Daily Mail, but not on a kinky website.

I've decided to reply to the piece at great length - probably greater length than it really deserves. In doing so, I can once again discuss some general points and questions which I already covered before in The Censor Slayer's Arsenal, Return of the Censor Slayer and Good Riddance to Bad Pseudo-Feminism. I believe I have done this more clearly and thoroughly here than in the other posts, so you don't have to read them, too. What follows is a good overview of my position, and it is a reply not only to the Spanking News, but also to other authors who hold similar views - just regard the quoted article as one recent example.

So, here it goes:

"We have been looking around the sites and the spanking scenes on offer at the moment and are struck by the lack of variety and the distance there seems to be between what the film makers present to us and what we do in our own spanking life and scene, OK we all love the school girl film and the naughty secretary; well that’s always a good standby. Why can’t we have some thought put into the scenarios though, it must be pretty damn boring for the girls and the film makers themselves to be always enacting the same few lines and scenes."

I'm all in favour of more variety in spanking films, and of putting more thought into the scenarios and into the dialogue. I would argue that the variety in films today isn't as bad as the author makes it out to be. It's certainly bigger than it was ten years ago, because there are more producers and websites now, coming from more different countries and cultural backgrounds, putting out more videos. And while many of them simply regurgitate the same old "schoolgirls and naughty secretaries" scenes, there are also producers who do interesting stuff - all you have to do is look for them. Still, I agree that more variety and more creative risk-taking among the producers is always welcome.

What I don't share is the author's complaint about "the distance... between what the film makers present to us and what we do in our own spanking life and scene". Even if true (and I'm not sure it really is true for most producers), would this be a bad thing? Is it the producers' job to present us with films that resemble what we do in our own spanking life and scene? According to some people, it is. For me, on the other hand, the appeal of spanking films lies precisely in the fact that they can portray stories, settings, constellations of players which most of us can not experience in our own lives - at least not easily. In other words, spanking films are all about erotic fantasies being acted out before my eyes for me. Their biggest forte is their (in theory) unlimited artistic freedom, and the fact that they can go to places where we ourselves usually can't.

At the end of the day, what you want to see in a film and how much you want it to resemble your own private spanking life (or not) is a matter of personal taste. The author of the Spanking News article seems to quietly assume that his personal taste is shared by most viewers, if not all. This is a theme that continues throughout the rest of the piece.

"Why not look at a few of the scenarios used by real people. A feature of lots of peoples spanking play is the ‘roll play’ and the different scenarios this presents. This is where you can have some serious fun or some serious SERIOUS fun. Maybe you like a laugh with your spanking, OK this can be the way to inject a smile and to keep the session light, nice when meeting someone for the first time or trying out your little kink on someone who may or may not share your views on spanking or being the subject of a spanking. Better through a nice roll play situation than throwing them over the arm of a chair and beating their bum till they say either ‘wow that was great’ or call for the cops and have you carted off to the pokey."

I'm not sure what, exactly, he is trying to say in this paragraph. I believe I can distil the following general thoughts: 1) many spankos engage in "roll play", 2) spanking film producers can look at this for inspiration, and 3) fun and light-heartedness in spanking is often a good idea. I can agree with all three statements - I think most of us would, they are pretty incontestable.

At the same time, I would strongly suggest that the best thing to do when meeting someone for the first time ("who may or may not share your views on spanking") is to simply talk to them before you try out "your little kink". Talk about what their views are, what their kink is, what they like and what they don't. As for role-playing - maybe they are into it, maybe they aren't! Either way, try to make sure beforehand that you are on the same page and that the personal chemistry is right. That way, no one will get "carted off to the pokey" afterwards.

"There are some things we don’t want to see on film or depicted on web sites. You have to draw a line in the roll play sand I think, the rape fantasy and the kidnap with violence scene, which I have seen discussed on some of the blogs, is where I draw my line."

Alright. After a brief excursion into private play, he's talking about spanking films again. Here is where it starts to get problematic.

First off, I agree that you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere in kinky play (whether it's kinky role-play or not is beside the point, really). Here is where I draw it: 1) the participants have to be consenting adults, and 2) there should be no permanent injury to anyone. Basically, it is the same "safe, sane and consensual" motto which pretty much all responsible kinky people subscribe to, in one formulation or another.

What I strongly oppose, however, is the author's call for self-censorship when it comes to subject matter. At least that is how I interpret his words, in the context of the whole article: "There are some things we don’t want to see on film or depicted on web sites." He is not just saying that he, personally, does not want to see certain things (which would be perfectly alright). He's saying that they should not be in films or on websites, period. And that violates another, equally important line I draw: the freedom of artistic expression.

There are various role-playing scenarios which I, personally, don't care for myself. I find it hard to eroticise depictions of rape in any shape or form. As for kidnapping scenarios, there are some I find interesting, if they show an interesting relationship or psychology between the kidnapper and the victim - but the scenario as such is far from the core of my kink. So I don't have a big interest in it, and I have no interest at all in rape fantasies. But I will defend the right of others to produce and view such material, as long as the material is made by consenting adults and nobody is permanently harmed.

I believe that, in a free society, grown-up citizens have to decide for themselves what material they want to see, and filmmakers have to decide for themselves what material they want to produce. I may find some of that material disturbing, disgusting, in bad taste - but I can't censor it simply on that basis. Freedom includes the freedom to have bad taste! We can, and should, prevent films from being distributed if real crimes were committed during the production - and we have to bring these crimes to justice. But we cannot censor something that was made in a safe, sane and consensual manner simply because we find it distasteful.

Of course, freedom brings with it certain responsibilities for us as individuals. Therefore, I'd encourage anyone who puts something into the public domain (whether it's a spanking film, a written story or a song lyric) to consider the consequences of their actions, and to exercise some common sense when dealing with sensitive subjects. If I feel that somebody is behaving like an idiot, then I have every right to tell them that. But I have no right to put a general taboo on certain types of subject matter, and to expect everyone to observe this taboo as a matter of self-censorship. In effect, this call for self-censorship is just a veiled form of censorship, isn't it? As well as that, I think it is better to look at the perceived rights or wrongs of films, stories etc. individually, instead of declaring general taboos on depictions of rape, kidnapping or whatever.

Thrillers and horror films in mainstream cinema regularly show rapes, kidnappings, murders and grisly injuries, often in considerable detail. They do so purely for entertainment, with no redeeming "moral" or "educational qualities" whatsoever. However, except for the usual self-appointed guardians of good taste, nobody seems to be much bothered by it. So why should spanking film producers declare a self-imposed ban on such scenarios? I see no valid reason for it, and I believe that doing so would only play into the hands of the people who hate all forms of kink, anyway. They will still call for more monitoring and more censorship, even after we censor ourselves - so why should we meet them halfway?

Now for the sentence in the Spanking News article that annoyed me more than any other part:

"Some sad person out there might get the idea that this [rape and kidnapping] is acceptable behaviour and can be applied to all the ladies he may meet, no better left alone I think."

With all due respect, this is just plain alarmist nonsense. It has never been demonstrated, by any serious scientific study, that watching kinky porn (or watching horror films, or playing violent computer games...) encourages violent or illegal actions. That claim is only floated by pro-censorship prudes and "moral guardians". How disappointing to see it repeated on a kinky website like the Spanking News - it goes to show you how much success certain fear-mongering media campaigns have had at convincing even kinky people like ourselves that what we do is a potential danger to society.

Of course, there are "some sad people" out there who might get strange ideas from... Well, pretty much anything, really! Some sad terrorists have cited the Bible or the Koran as a justification for killing thousands of their fellow human beings - as a matter of fact, far more violent acts have been committed in the name of God than have ever been committed by lunatics with a porn collection at home. But we do not outlaw religious texts, do we? Because there is no significant statistical correlation between people who read religious texts and people who commit violent crime. No such correlation exists in the case of kinky porn, either.

We don't even need scientific studies to demonstrate this to us - most of us know from personal experience that we don't simply imitate everything we see! I can tell you that, by the time when I first played as a top, I had watched a huge number of spanking films. Many of them were very hard, because that is one thing I like in a film. So, did I just beat the living daylights out of the spankee? Needless to say, I didn't. Actually, the only complaint I received afterwards was that, while she thought the session had been hot and fun, the spanking hadn't been quite hard enough for her taste! You see, I believe that, when in doubt, you should always err on the side of caution - especially in a first play with someone. So much for the "Oh, people who watch very hard films are going to spank like maniacs!" argument, which also gets floated in our kinky community sometimes.

"OK someone is going to say what about the schoolgirl scene, mature ladies dressed as schoolgirls? Well that’s just it, they are mature ladies and they do dress up, they do not say they are young girls and available, they are play acting and make it clear that they are play acting. With the rape and kidnap fantasy the whole object is that it is supposed to be as real as possible and to look as uncontrived as possible."

The confusion continues. To his credit, the author realises that his position is inconsistent - why should it be okay for consenting adults to dress up as young schoolgirls who are getting thrashed by the headmaster, but not as victims of rape or kidnapping? After all, both kinds of role-play essentially show a non-consensual situation, and both depict acts that would be considered immoral if they were real. So, as long as it is all a safe, sane and consensual role-play, where's the difference?

The Spanking News argues that in a schoolgirl scene, people "make it clear that they are play acting", while in the case of rape and kidnap fantasy, "the whole object is that it is supposed to be as real as possible". Frankly, this claim is nonsense, too. I would say that it all depends on the people who are doing the play acting. Some will strive for more realism and authenticity than others. You're going to find different styles and preferences across different groups of role-players: school role-players who want as much realism as possible, kidnapping role-players who don't care about realism at all, and vice versa.

In any case, I haven't seen a single spanking film producer where it wasn't clear that the scenarios they show - whether it's a schoolgirl scene or something more "edgy" - are play acting by consenting adults, not real coercion of real victims. For one thing, they are legally bound to have "All models over the age of 18" somewhere on their website. Note the term "models"! Many producers have a far more elaborate Legal Notice on their site as well, where it is made perfectly clear that the participants are engaged in kinky role-play and that what they do is not intended to reproduce or represent actual practices or activities in a real life sense.

This is obvious from watching the films as well - they show kinky fantasies being acted out, not super-realistic depictions of real life crime and coercion. In the strictest sense, the vast majority of spanking films out there aren't realistic at all - regardless of whether the models play schoolgirls, prison inmates or kidnapping victims. Which is fine with me, because a film doesn't have to be perfectly realistic for me to be able to enjoy it. Actually, I sometimes like the obviously contrived ones the most.

"When it comes to story lines and costumes then some of the Eastern European sites do have a big lead over the British produced material, I am not sure I like everything I see from these companies but I do like the fact that they put thought into costumes and storylines and indeed locations."

I don't want to go into whether or not the Eastern European producers have a lead over the British ones, or where that lead might be. At the end of the day, what kind of film you like is a matter of personal taste, and it really is beside the point here.

However, it's refreshing to finally see the author naming some names, at least indirectly. Usually, articles like this seem to be about some vaguely defined, negative stereotype instead of anything specific - they seem to be about a "bogeyman website" or "bogeyman film", so to speak. And when the authors do name certain producers, it usually turns out that they don't know their work very well (which is understandable, perhaps, because it isn't the authors' kink!).

The Spanking News mentions "Eastern European sites", so I assume they mean producers like RGE / Lupus Pictures from the Czech Republic, Pain4Fem from Slovakia and Mood Pictures from Hungary. It is true that these producers frequently depict non-consensual and pretty "rough" scenarios. However, depictions of actual rape or kidnapping are rare - they only feature in a small number of films, and even then, they are usually implied rather than directly shown. The only spanking film producer I can think of who does rape and kidnapping scenarios with some regularity is Russian Slaves. Still, I've seen more disturbing - and more realistic - depictions in mainstream cinema.

While the scenarios in Eastern European films are usually somewhat "rougher" than what British producers show, and while the spanking action is far more severe, I would argue that most of the general subject matter is not fundamentally different, actually. When you look at all the films from all the aforementioned sources (Lupus, Pain4Fem, Mood, Russian Slaves), you will find that the vast majority belongs to the "classical" spanking film genres: schoolgirls, judicial punishments, domestic discipline, chastised maids or secretaries, et cetera. By comparison, rape and kidnapping are low on the radar.

It doesn't really matter, anyway - as I said above, I would defend someone's freedom to run a pure rape fantasy site if that is what they want to do. I have no interest in such material, but as long as it is produced in a safe, sane and consensual manner, I have no problem with it existing. However, the point I'm trying to make is this: opinion pieces which advocate censorship (or self-censorship, like the Spanking News does here) often give the impression that a certain type of content which they oppose, like rape and kidnapping scenes in spanking films, is fairly widespread. Upon closer inspection, this impression is usually flawed.

Also, if you really wanted to be consistent in your opposition to certain types of material, I believe that you would have to call for the banishment of all non-consensual scenarios from spanking films - including most of the schoolgirl and naughty secretary films which the Spanking News author likes. Is rape more immoral than beating a schoolgirl or beating your secretary? Perhaps. But all these scenarios are basically non-consensual, and all would be immoral if they were real. God forbid, "some sad person" out there might get the idea that beating his secretary is acceptable behaviour!

"It is a fact that they [the Eastern European producers] are able through legislation in different countries to go to those places where it is not possible for the British producer to go. Our thought, moral and behaviour police will be after you before the first DVD has stopped spinning, when will the British public at large say enough is enough get out of my bedroom, playroom, and dungeon?"

If you really want the thought police to get out of your bedroom, playroom and dungeon, then it is probably not a good idea to parrot the very same arguments they are using - mainly, the unsubstantiated claim that watching kinky porn will encourage violent actions. On the contrary, you have to oppose these arguments and demonstrate that they are flawed.

"No we have to ask that you Mr. Producer find somewhere in the middle and come up with good stories and locations. We have the very best spanking models in the world in the UK and I for one want to see them in good stories, acting out good lines and making me believe the whole thing is happening just for me and not to some tired and wilting formula. Do I have an example of the sort of thing, yes I do and it comes from one of the newer web sites. [...]"

The rest of the article is basically a promo for Spanking Sarah, so I'm cutting it off here. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with promoting the producers you like - I regularly do that in my movie reviews, in my website reviews and in other posts.

However, you don't hear me saying that certain scenarios shouldn't be depicted in spanking films or on websites, or that certain producers should make different types of films because what they are doing isn't my kink. Therein lies the difference between my position and that of the Spanking News. There are plenty of scenarios I don't care for myself - rape fantasy is one of them. So, I don't watch them. But I don't object to others producing or watching such material, as long as the participants are consenting adults and no one is permanently harmed.

I firmly believe that freedom begins with the freedom of those around you. Therefore, if I want to be free to watch (and make) the kinky films I like, I have to support the freedom of others to watch (and make) the kinky films they like - even though I may not share their kink.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tinkering in Uniform

When I wrote about the UK Meet and Greet trip Kaelah and I did a couple of weeks ago, someone asked if there are any pictures of Kaelah in school uniform. Well, we didn't take any while we were with The Spanking Writers. We sent Abel a photo during the preparations, trying to get the look right, but it was rather quickly done and never intended for posting. However, Kaelah was happy to take some pictures at home now and put them on the blog. Here is one, with best regards to Jony the Big Bad Wolf:

This is exactly the outfit she wore at Abel and Haron's party, even though she didn't have the silly-looking little girl pigtails there (I would like to state, for the record, that all participants in this photoshoot were over 21 years of age!). Kaelah told me that, if she is going to do a schoolgirl picture for the blog, she might as well "go all the way" - who knows, it could very well remain the first and last one. So she deliberately made it look as un-Klingon as possible. Isn't it alarming, how innocent she can appear when she disguises herself?

When Kaelah isn't dressing up in front of the mirror or writing her monthly column, she likes spending her time doing handworks. Something I'm totally useless at - my fine motor skills are developed enough to make me a reasonably good amateur musician, but I guess I just never had the patience for building small delicate things. So here's another premiere, the first handwork picture on this blog, courtesy of my girlfriend. Looking at it now, I remember that her patience wasn't perfect, either. A lot of cursing when the little figures made of chestnuts and matches [note from Kaelah: toothpicks!] kept falling over. But Kaelah eventually managed to make them stand long enough to take the photo.

Doesn't it give you that cozy autumn feeling? I hope you've been using the past weeks well, when you still had plenty of chestnuts lying around in the local park. Handworks like these are a great way of "coming out" to your vanilla friends. Put some on the table when you are inviting the reverend and his wife over for tea! It will turn the conversation in a whole new direction.

Now that winter is closing in, though, it's time to settle down a bit. At least for us - the last four months have been pretty busy for Kaelah and me. First, there was the journey to Prague and the shoot with Lupus Pictures. Then, we had some major blogging work to do, the mystery of K-Day, Where No Man Has Spanked Before and the first edition of Kaelah's Corner. September was much the same, with the big behind-the-scenes report on Lupus and the Niki Flynn interview, for which Kaelah came up with roughly half the questions. Most recently, there was the UK trip. That one was purely a holiday and had no "work" attached to it, but it required a bit of organisation nonetheless, to meet all these kinky friends. When you factor in that Kaelah and I have a long-distance relationship, that we only see each other about every two weeks, and that we both have busy vanilla lives as well, you can imagine that we didn't have a whole lot of time to explore our still-new relationship in private. Not as much as we would have wished for, anyway.

So, we are both happy to take it easier now for the rest of the year and over the winter - no more travelling, no more kinky film shoots, no more parties for the time being. Just us! Don't worry, the blogging will continue unabated. But it will "settle down" a bit as well, as far as the subject matter is concerned. On my First Blogiversary back in January, I wrote that I would like to write more book reviews and philosophical ramblings. With everything that happened since then, I haven't been able to do either of the two - reading takes time, and so does rambling! Hopefully, I'll be able to do some now.

Most of all, I'm itching to finally write down the story of how Kaelah and I played for the first time - the "Klingon Rite of Span'qIng", her initiation into CP. I wanted to do that in August, then September, but it kept getting delayed by posts that were more urgent and more "contemporary" at the time. October was pretty stressful on the vanilla side of things. I'm confident, though, that we can finally give the tale of our first play the time and the detail it deserves in the coming weeks, before November is over. In the meantime, we tried to assuage those of you who desperately wanted to see cane stripes with the picture from the second edition of Kaelah's Corner, Abenteuerland. That one was pretty good, too, wasn't it?

Let me finish today's entry by wishing you all a happy Halloween this coming weekend. And don't forget to do some autumn-inspired tinkering before the snowy season sets in.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Movie Review: Unquestioning Obedience

Mood Pictures (released in 2009)

Entire Story In Fewer Words Than Are In This Sentence:
Slaves in rich household get whipped

Victim Appeal:
"Unquestioning Obedience" is the first high-definition movie by Mood Pictures. Sadists (and masochists!) can now enjoy the extreme beatings which the company has become famous for at a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (the downloadable .wmv file comes at a massive 2.7 GB!). The Hungarians have assembled an impressively attractive cast of victims for this premiere, even by their own high standards. Half a dozen models get thrashed here, four with the cane and two with the single tail whip. One of them, Suzie Muller, is interesting for reasons that go beyond eye candy. I'll come to that in the last section of this review.

The video also marks the return of Angie Vicious. She's a pornstar (her "mainstream" name is Yvette Balcano) who used to top for Mood in the early days. After a break of three years, she is now back in action. And not a moment too soon - it really was getting a bit boring to watch Lady Jessica doing the brunt of the work in almost every release.

Gratuitous Sadism:
Mood Pictures love scenarios that harken back to the sexploitation films of the 1970's. Their first HD title is a variation on the "mistress of the mansion tortures her girls" theme, which they already covered in previous efforts like Schizo. Angie Vicious plays a rich lady who hires beautiful young girls as house slaves - in return for a large sum of money, they sign a "slave contract" for a certain period of time, which deprives them of all rights. Of course, such a contract would be illegal in almost every jurisdiction in the world, but hey... It's just a movie! So, the girls are kept behind bars, they must show "unquestioning obedience", and every little infraction is punished severely.

I'm not going to recount the entire story for you, but it's quite nicely done, actually. There are opening scenes with an applicant getting interviewed for the job, signing the contract and being introduced to the household. There are some great-looking sets, like the bedroom for the slaves with its black and white chessboard floor. I also liked the fact that there is a hierarchy among the girls - Jessica Lee and Miss Prince play "stable girls", higher-ranking slaves who act as overseers for the others.

Some of the "lesser" slaves, plus Miss Prince, get two demonstration strokes each with a crop in the early part of the movie. But the first proper CP scene stars Alisson Sew, a dark-haired model who takes 50 cane strokes from Lady Jessica while bent over her bed. Next up are Cassie Totta and Suzie Muller, two blondes. In the stable, they are whipped side by side by the husband of the mistress, played by Maximilian Lomp. It's back to the cane for the final three action segments, which take place in the living room of the mansion, with the victims tied to a frame made from wood and metal. Miss Prince, one of the stable girls, gets 50 strokes from Jessica. Then, it's Angie's turn to wield the cane. She gives 23 strokes (a merciful punishment) to Judith Gretto, the thin redhead who plays one of the new girls, and a full 50 strokes to Hannah Black, an exotic-looking, dark-haired maid.

All Mood Pictures titles of recent years feature a fairly large cast, and often, the results are somewhat hit and miss (literally as well as figuratively). However, "Unquestioning Obedience" is one of the cases where every single CP scene is good - in terms of action, it's one of the most consistent Pedro and Pablo productions I've seen in a long time. The thrashings are very hard as usual, they are mostly on target, the girls are beautiful and their reactions are nice to watch. Moreover, Jessica Lee, Max Lomp and Angie Vicious provide a good mix on the top side.

Best Reactions:
While all action scenes are good, the whipping of Cassie Totta and Suzie Muller is just absolutely unbelievably awesome. It really blew me away - I don't remember a CP scene coming this close to my idea of perfection since Rose Sardy's caning in the (otherwise mediocre) Elite Club Special Case by Elitepain. Actually, I probably haven't had a "Here is what I always wanted to see!" moment of this magnitude since watching the original Wild Party by Rigid East almost ten years ago. Which is interesting, because I thought I had seen it all by now.

It's also interesting because, at first sight, there are several reasons why this shouldn't be my favourite scene of the film, let alone one of my favourites of all time. To begin with, it's a single tail whipping of the back and the buttocks - I like the single tail well enough, but I prefer a thrashing of the buttocks only, ideally with the cane. Moreover, two girls get lined up side by side here - I usually hate that, I like a clear "focus" on one victim at a time. Thirdly, Miss Totta and Miss Muller are screaming their lungs out at full volume - and I usually hate such loud, hysterical reactions, too.

But somehow, all these "wrongs" add up to a near-perfect "right" here. Punishing two servants with the whip, at the same time, while they holler like banshees - in this context, set in a stable, as an episode in a tale about slavery, it all fits very nicely. The concept is great, as is the execution. The girls are gorgeous, they take one hell of a beating, Max Lomp does a fine job, there is a lot of verbal interaction between the three of them by Mood standards, the rhythm of the lashes is just right, so is the "crescendo" towards the end, and last but not least, the whole thing is beautifully lit and photographed.

It is also one of the most intense, gruelling scenes I've ever seen in a spanking film. Not the hardest in physical terms - Cassie and Suzie "only" take 50 whiplashes each, and while some blood is drawn, there are other Mood floggings that have produced far gorier results. However, in my judgment, they have never done anything as intense as this. Which goes to show you, once again, that there is more to severity than simply hitting hard. There is also the severity of the reactions: here, the girls' non-stop unisono screaming creates a veritable cacophony of anguish, and for once, that enhances the scene for me instead of ruining it. It really is one for the ages.

Best Line:
There aren't any really good lines here that I can remember. How about this one, spoken by the mistress to two girls who aren't renewing their contracts: "Every girl who is leaving us gets a last caning. Not for punishment, just as a token." And she genuinely means it in a nice way! Aaaaaw.

Nice Psychological Touch:
I liked how all three tops in the film are portrayed as having different motivations. The mistress has her ideas about discipline, but she has a sense of fairness and affection for her servants and isn't outright cruel. Her husband, on the other hand, simply enjoys beating the girls for the fun of it - even though he strenuously denies it and, in fact, punishes two of them for calling him a sadist behind his back. As for the stable girl, she just seems to be a careerist who follows orders (a "disgusting bootlicker" according to the other slaves). An accurate depiction of the real-life personalities of Angie, Max and Jessica? One wonders...

How Good Is It Really?
If this is an indication of what Mood Pictures have in store for 2010, then it could be their best year yet. "Unquestioning Obedience" is certainly their best film in a while, and I'm including the one I guest starred in (which, I thought, was also quite good, but didn't have the overall consistency). The setting is interesting, the lighting and the camerawork is good, the new HD format looks fabulous, the models are pure eye candy, and there are some excellent CP scenes - including The Whipping in the Stable, which is now one of my all-time favourite scenes. Truly a guilty pleasure.

What You Learned:
Ironically, the two girls from the best scene are missing from the credits, so I wrote to Pedro to find out their names. It seems to have been a dumb, honest oversight ("Fuck! You are right!"). Pedro wrote to me that Suzie Muller was "the surprise of the century" for him: she's beautiful (a platinum blonde with a great figure and a very spankable bottom), she has decent acting skills, and most impressively, she is genuinely kinky - one of a tiny handful of Mood models who aren't simply doing it for the money. After her action scene, she thanked Max Lomp for the whipping, which wasn't in the script. And during another shoot, for Elitepain (still unreleased), she was hungry for more strokes than originally planned - so they did an encore. Good girl! More of her, please.

Apparently, Pedro is now reconsidering his filmmaking philosophy a bit: "Well, who the fuck said that he doesn't like shooting with submissive girls? Was it me?" Goodness! I wonder what is next for Mood - movies with actual storylines, perhaps? Lots of dialogue? Character development? Life is full of surprises!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

UK Meet and Greet

Before I come to the title subject of today's post, a quick recap of Love Our Lurkers IV: according to the final tally from Bonnie, the event was a stunning success, gathering a total of 2,627 comments on the 144 blogs that participated. I wonder if we're going to surpass that one next year... While the 2008 edition of Love Our Lurkers will always remain my personal favourite, for obvious reasons, I am of course very pleased with the response I got over the past week. My own contribution to the Global Day of Delurk 2009 received 24 comments (discounting two from me and one from a visitor who was writing about a different subject entirely). Out of these, 16 were from people who had commented on my blog at least once before, and eight were genuine first-time "delurks". Thank you to everyone who took the time to write something, and thank you for your words of encouragement.

(On a selfish, competitive note, I am also very pleased that my final tally is comfortably above the average 18.24 comments gathered per blog this year. Hah! Mad King Ludwig rules again.)

With Love Our Lurkers day over for this year, I can finally tell you about another spanking adventure of mine (of ours, actually). Kaelah and I recently returned from a "let's go on holiday and meet some perverts" trip to the UK. We had always planned to visit London (and perhaps other cities...) sometime before the year is out. When Abel of The Spanking Writers invited us to the surprise birthday party he was setting up for his partner Haron, it was exactly the right occasion.

I like their writing a lot. My time for reading other people's blogs has been severely limited since I started my own, but I always try to keep an eye on what Abel and Haron are posting. As for Kaelah, it turns out that she read Abel's spanking stories when she started exploring her kinky side last year - so she, too, knew him through his work. We were both greatly looking forward to meeting The Spanking Writers, even though Kaelah was a little nervous about the "back to school" dress code specified in the invitation.

We don't have much of a school uniform tradition in Germany and Kaelah didn't want to commit an unwitting fashion faux pas in front of a crowd of seasoned role-players. At first, she suggested that we go as a teacher and student couple of stereotypical, anti-authoritarian, 1970's style German "greenies" - wearing jeans, self-made wool pullovers and "Save the Whales!" buttons. It was a hilarious idea in its way, but I favoured accepting the English challenge instead. If you go to a spanking party in the UK for the first time, you might as well do it according to protocol! [note from Kaelah: Ludwig was simply too lazy to put the unorthodox greenie outfit together] Therefore, proper tradition [note from Kaelah: boring conformism!] won the day. Quite a few emails went back and forth between Abel and us, trying to get Kaelah's school uniform right. As for me, I was going to do my best Headmaster Tom impression wearing a sharp black suit, white shirt and tie.

In the end, the party worked out fine. Not just fashion-wise for the two of us, but much more importantly, for Abel - the surprise went as planned and Haron, who had been away over night while Abel and his co-conspirators prepared the house, was amazed and delighted in equal measure when she arrived. The rest of the day was spent indulging in good food and drink, merry banter and, of course, many scenes of kinky play. The company was especially interesting for Kaelah and me because it was a blogging / private role-playing crowd rather than a filmmaking / modelling crowd, and therefore quite different from our last adventure together. I suppose I will always remain a CP video geek at heart, who treasures the artifact and the behind-the-scenes story of the action more than the action itself. But I certainly enjoyed getting a glimpse into this other form of spanko lifestyle.

Among others, the guest list included EmmaJane and Eliane, whose blogs I have finally added to my link list. The only partygoer I had met before was Henry Higgins. It was great to see him again after over a year. Considering all the illustrious company, Haron got away with a surprisingly small number of birthday spankings - only three or four in total if I remember it correctly. However, the other party guests contributed more than their alloted share of action. EmmaJane and HH were particularly active, disappearing in the direction of one of the play rooms about every ten minutes. Their two written accounts of a scene they did together with Abel make for interesting reading - The error of her ways by EmmaJane (aka Maria, lady's maid to Lady Fortescue) and this post by Sir Henry. Note the similarities and the differences in the viewpoints. The Headmaster's Study by Eliane describes another scene that took place at the party.

At one point, a lady engaged in conversation with Kaelah and me, the two lone German visitors, asked me: "You are not Ludwig Rohrstock, are you?" Native English speakers sometimes assume that "Rohrstock" (the German word for "cane") is my alter ego's surname, when it really is part of the blog's name. I felt tempted to quip: "No, I'm one of the other 37 Ludwigs from this huge community of ours!" But that might have come out rude instead of simply sounding humorous like I intended it. So I settled for a straightforward "Yes, that's me" instead, which elicited a surprised reply. (It's nice to know that even after all these videos, I can still walk into a room full of spankos - some of whom read my blog! - and stay unrecognised. Goes to show you that your chances of being recognised on the street are practically zero.)

My partner and I didn't engage in any spanking play with the others ourselves. Kaelah at present has no desire to do that, and she may never get it. Which suits me fine - frankly, unless it's in the context of making a CP video, I'm not that interested in playing with other people, either. However, the two of us did a little session on our own. Abel and Haron have an impressive collection of implements, so we couldn't let the opportunity pass by. I introduced Kaelah to various implements which are missing from my own collection at home. Which is to say, pretty much everything that is not a cane! We tried out several crops, several straps, a wooden paddle or two, a few tawses (also on the palm of her hand), a cat o' nine tails, a slipper and about a dozen other instruments. I don't even remember all of them.

As this was purely a "let's experiment" session, I only gave Kaelah a couple of strokes with each implement, and only two or three of them were hard. Just enough to get a first impression. Still, all the little bits added up to a nice set of marks by the end. Even though Kaelah obviously knows the cane already, I couldn't resist my favourite tool and took one of Abel's canes to finish off the scene with six of the best. What a great experience for both of us to get to play with so many different toys! It was only one of the things that made this party memorable and enjoyable. Along the way, I even managed to fulfil one and a half of my new year resolutions for 2009 - to attend my first spanking party in the UK and to try out at least one new spanking implement actively. Our many thanks to Abel and Haron for inviting us.

The following week, we met Pandora Blake. I had narrowly missed her at BoundCon this year, so this was only the second time we got together. Again, there was no play, but we had dinner together and a very pleasant evening. I also finally met Thomas Cameron, her Dom, boyfriend and partner in crime, which I had been looking forward to. Their friend Jimmy was there as well. The five of us had quite a good time, talking about the Crimean War (Tom is a history buff like me), English novels, Port wine, the recent elections in Germany and various kinky adventures. Kaelah was delighted to find out that Tom knows Wil Wheaton's blog. And Pandora mentioned more than once that she plans to make Jimmy a big star through her new website, so that he may be adored by fangirls (and fanboys?) across the world - keep your eyes open. Who knows, Kaelah and I might also shoot something for Pandora's site next year, if we can find a date that suits everyone and a scenario that we are all happy with. I'd certainly love to do it. But nothing is set in stone yet.

And the next day, as the final stop on our "meet the English perverts" tour, we sat down with Leia-Ann Woods in a Chinese restaurant. It was another occasion I had been looking forward to for a long time. I've been a fan of Leia-Ann's work for years and I interviewed her on the blog in February 2008 - one of my first posts, actually. But we had never met in person. As it turned out, I managed to escape with my illusions intact - she really is a nice girl and fun to be with. The food was excellent as well (kudos to Kaelah for spotting the restaurant), and Leia-Ann was in a particularly cheerful mood all evening because she had just come from an audition for an exciting new project, which had gone well.

These first encounters with people you've only known through their writing and / or videos are always interesting. They always look slightly differently than you expect (hence my not being recognised at first by the guest at Abel and Haron's party). And they always behave differently than what you expect, too. Of course, everyone with a shred of common sense understands that spanking models are not identical to the characters they (usually) portray. The woman behind Niki Flynn was not a cheerful party girl, nor a crazy pyromaniac, but a very complex, shy, at times reclusive person. The woman behind Amelia-Jane Rutherford is not a snotty princess, but friendly and personable.

Still, I think we tend to make certain assumptions subconsciously, even though we really know better. At Bars and Stripes, where most of the videos I've seen with her come from, Leia-Ann Woods is intensity personified - rebellious, aggressive, bloody-minded. I knew it's just a role, but still, I was not prepared for quite how funny she is when you meet her off-camera. I mean, Leia-Ann is funny as hell, she really is! Hardly a minute went by that evening without the three of us sharing a hearty laugh together. Kaelah later told me that she was surprised, too. Her own kinky fantasies are totally unlike Leia-Ann's - caring guidance and saving the ship scenarios versus waterboarding and women in prison. So she had expected that maybe the two of them would have trouble connecting. But then, Kaelah felt an immediate rapport with Leia-Ann, and they got along great.

All in all, we had a wonderful time in the UK. No video shoots, no official schedules, no creative pressure to do anything - it really was just a "meet and greet" trip rather than "work", and that's what made it so enjoyable. Hell, we didn't even take a casual photograph with us and any of the kinky company we met. I do have this photo to share with you, though, and I'm going to finish today's post with it. Kaelah took it at a café at the Tower of London:

Kaelah said she didn't need any topping. She brought along her own top! Har har.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Global Day of Delurk 2009

Today is the fourth annual Love Our Lurkers day. It's an event first established in 2006 by Bonnie of My Bottom Smarts and organised by her ever since. Once per year, we spanking bloggers invite our lurking readers (the ones who are around, but never say a word!) to come out of the shadows and leave a comment. 87 different blogs joined in last time (see this list by Bonnie) and gathered a total of 1,971 comments - records, both, and a pretty high benchmark for 2009.

Last year was when I first took part in this tradition, too, with my then-new blog. I called it the Global Day of Delurk 2008 and got a respectable 16 comments. Not all of them were genuine, first-time delurks, but quite a few were, including one from a female German reader calling herself K'Ehleyr. She had just started to explore her kinky fantasies and to look for spanking-related material on the internet. My post inspired her to leave her first-ever comment on someone's blog, and a week later, she emailed me with some questions about spanking and the scene. K'Ehleyr and I became penpals, we eventually met in the flesh, I introduced her to the practical side of CP... And, to cut a long story short, we are a couple now. If interested, you can read the full version in Where No Man Has Spanked Before. Under her new name Kaelah, my lovely Klingon mate writes a monthly column on the blog today. You will hear (and see) a lot more from her in the future.

If that "too good to be true, but true nonetheless" story doesn't tempt you to write a comment this time around, then I suppose nothing will! I'm off the market now, but who knows, one of your fellow delurkers might be the partner and soulmate you've always been dreaming of? With all the jolly, kink-obsessed, sophisticated spankos around here who devour my movie reviews and my dry philosophical ramblings, your chances aren't too bad. Or maybe the comment you leave will change your life in some other unexpected, joyful way? You could at least give it a try.

At the very least, we could formally introduce ourselves and you'd help me to get to know my audience better. I'm always curious to see who is reading, how they found my corner of the web, how long they've been around, what they like and dislike. So, if you want to say hello and leave a short message, today is your day. (Moreover, my mad scientist twin is always looking for new test subjects for his human experiments, same as last year - so he, too, would be pleased.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Website Review: Girls Boarding School

Girls Boarding School is one of those "superstar" paysites that need no introduction. If you are a spanko and into videos at all, you have almost certainly heard of it. You probably paid for a membership at one time or another, too. It was one of the first sites I ever subscribed to. Some of the old GBS clips still have a special place in my spanking porn collection, and not just for nostalgic reasons - they really are excellent and hold up well after all these years. I recently checked back and found a site that has grown and changed a lot, but is still good.

GBS was founded, almost a decade ago, by a German couple calling themselves Tom and Sophie. In time, it became one of the most popular CP video sites on the net - a story that is perhaps comparable, in some ways, to Realspankings, another long-standing "superstar" site founded by another pair of genuine spankos. The success of Girls Boarding School is built on solid technical craftsmanship, fine CP action, a slew of attractive models, and Headmaster Tom. Tom has become synonymous with his site the way Mr. M became synonymous with Realspankings. He is young, good-looking, a sharp dresser, he acts well and he spanks well - in short, he's one of the more interesting and charismatic tops in video land today, and let's be honest, not too many examples of that species exist...

There's been quite a lot of confusion over GBS in recent months. After the site underwent a major redesign and much content with a new male spanker was added, rumours spread that Headmaster Tom had retired. These rumours were seemingly confirmed by a review on The Spanking Spot, which claimed (without naming any sources) that Girls Boarding School had indeed "changed hands" and went on: "The only happiness about this whole thing is the image of our poor frustrated Tom sipping a Mai Tai on a tropical island without a naughty schoolgirl in site [sic]." Predictably, fans started panicking, screaming that the site was going to go downhill under the new leadership.

The reality is that nothing ever changed. Tom and Sophie are still producing content for GBS, as they always were (see this blog post by spanking model Keagen). New videos starring Tom are added to the site's members area, as they always were. And a message I got from GBS Support confirms: "Headmaster Tom is still in the game. Correct, we produced some content with some other male actors. However, this never meant that Tom has left or retired or whatever!" In other words, people should simply do their research before they write a website critique - it's supposed to be a review, not a creative writing exercise.

So, with these false rumours cleared up, let's take a look at Girls Boarding School anno 2009. The layout of the site has indeed changed completely since I last visited. Gone are the different sections that the archives used to have in earlier years. Now, all the scenes (some 570 at the time of this writing) are in one big list, and the primary way to access what you want to see is through a search function. You can search the scenes by "area" (domestic, outdoor, cellar, bathroom etc.), by model, by spanker, by implement and by the style of clothes (schoolgirl, casual, bedtime etc.). Of course, you can also combine these search filters. It's a very quick and comfortable way to find exactly what you are looking for in the vast haystack of clips, but in my view at least, the totally streamlined layout has also robbed GBS of some of the character it used to have.

Most clips fall into the categories of domestic discipline (around 90%) and / or schoolgirl scenarios (around 25%), which were always the main focus of Girls Boarding School. Headmaster Tom chastises the various female "residents" of his institution for misdemeanours ranging from "Stolen Chocolate" to "Broken Glasses" to "Reading Porn Magazines" (an old favourite - I swear there must be an official EU guideline or something, stipulating that every Euro spanking site on the web has to feature at least one clip with a girl thrashed for reading porn!). Some scenes show initiation ceremonies of sorts for "New Residents", others involve "End of Term Reports" or have no story at all, but most are punishments for one misdeed or another.

Tom is the main spanker, appearing in 8 out of 10 scenes and doing most of the talking. When he lectures the girls before, during and after the spankings, he has this trademark tone of voice that is an even mix of strictness and slightly bored annoyance, with a medium-heavy German accent: "You stupid girrul! Wot did you doo?" You either like or dislike his style, and I like it quite a bit. There is a handful of F/F scenes with the girls spanking each other, but the only other tops with a significant number of clips are two male spankers named Mr. Lewis and Michael. The latter, in particular, received bad reviews aplenty from the fans when they thought that he had taken over the site. But while neither Mr. Lewis nor Michael can rival Tom's charisma, it has to be said, in fairness, that they aren't really any worse than the average male top on the average spanking site today - if nothing else, they provide GBS with a bit of extra variety.

Speaking of variety: the main protagonists of Girls Boarding School, aside from Headmaster Tom, are of course the girls themselves. GBS was always famed for its large and attractive cast of models. Sophie, Maja, Laura, Jenny, Claire and other mainstays of the site will forever be remembered fondly by CP video connaisseurs. Blonde cutie Linda seems to be everyone's favourite, including mine. I also like Eve, a long-legged blonde from the early days who only did about a dozen scenes, but very good ones. In addition to the Germans from the "classic" era, GBS has also had a number of visitors from the UK and the United States over the years. Pandora Blake appears on the site as "Paulina", Amelia-Jane Rutherford as "Lucy" (the GBS clip "Never caned before" is probably my favourite video of hers), Amy Hunter as "Amy" and Kailee Robinson as "Christine". Abigail Whittaker of Spank That Brat fame did a series called "Abi's Confession" with Headmaster Tom, which is fairly good.

The lion share of the scenes consists of OTK spankings (some 25% at the time of this writing), canings (50%) and whackings with the wooden paddle (15%). But you can also see a multitude of other implements in action, such as birches, belts, leather straps, hairbrushes, tawses, carpetbeaters (add a bonus point for rarity) and coathangers (ditto). There is even a clip where Tom spanks a girl's ass with a mobile phone (three bonus points!). The severity level ranges from medium to hard - you won't find any insane Mood Pictures-style beatings, but there is a lot of proper, "serious" CP action here, with howls and tears and visible marks that please the sadist in me. With half the scenes featuring the Rohrstock, GBS is definitely on the right track as far as I'm concerned...

The amount of content is roughly on par with other big old sites like Realspankings or Firm Hand Spanking - first time members are guaranteed to be busy for a long, long while. The average clip is between 5 and 15 minutes long, although some are longer. The video quality is standard as well: older scenes are in .rm format, newer ones in .wmv format with a resolution of 500 x 400 pixels, the newest ones in .wmv format with 720 x 576 pixels. There are no high definition videos, but some clips are available in a HQ version at the sister site GBS Premium, for a fee.

All in all, Girls Boarding Schools remains one of the premier CP video sites on the web. It is true that some of the new models aren't up to the lofty standards set by Linda, Claire and co., but mutterings that GBS is "going downhill" are premature. Contrary to some rumours, Headmaster Tom is still on board, and I for one see no reason to doubt that we will see more great work from him in the future.