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.


Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

I don't know what it is about Linda that makes her so appealing as a spankee.

Cuteness, innocence, vulnerability and just great reactions to the spankings.

Nice review Ludwig!

Reviews like this help "order" the spankoverse.

Caroline Grey said...

This was the absolutely first porn I ever paid for. One particular spanking that Pandora got for drinking made me nearly delirious with joy! I think I had much the same reaction to GBS that you had to Lupus.

I'd love to shoot for them some day, although I'm a bit less eye-candyish than some of their other girls. I was in talks for a while to shoot for one of their other related sites, but it fell through. Ah day!

Greg said...

Great review- Keep 'em coming.

BTW, I do agree, "Never been caned" is one of the very best.
I didn't realize who the model was at the time, but recognized a real talent. She actualy has personality and is a good actress. And there's something terribly sexy about the final caning scenes.

Irelynn said...

I'm glad this review went up actually, since I'm off to shoot for GBS later this month! So thank you, Ludwig. ;)

urs0us said...

This site was one of my first paysites I ever signed up for. I like the content very much. That review reminded me to check out the new stuff.

Pandora Blake said...

Wow, I completely believed the rumours that the site had been sold to new management - thanks for clearing that up!

GBS were the first spanking brand I was ever aware of. I checked in on it pretty regularly, although being a teenager with no credit card, I couldn't join. When I started modelling I contacted them asking to appear on the site. I don't do that often!

I am also awash with glee that Irelynn is shortly going to shoot for them. Hurrah!

Caroline - TOTALLY you are hot enough, shut up. If you want to shoot with them but are a bit nervous, we could go together? I wouldn't mind a second go, and I'd be happy to get in touch and arrange things :)

Anonymous said...

Karl Friedrich, you where hitting the nail on the head. Linda is reality.not playacting. She is shy, lovely,bashful and genuine sensitive.

Caroline Grey said...

Pandora, you know I agree with all of your ideas! Once again, YES. Shooting with them would be fantastic. Shooting with them AND you at the same time...HEAVEN.

Ludwig said...

@ Caroline: I, too, agree with Pandora - I think you're beautiful and definitely eye-candyish enough to shoot with GBS. It would be great to see you on the site one day. If GBS is your "producer of dreams" the way Lupus was mine, then I encourage you to follow these dreams.

@ Irelynn: I hope you have a good trip and a great time. Looking forward to reading your account of the shoot when you get back.

@ Pandora: Trafficking girls again, hmm? But seriously... Yeah, I think it would be interesting to see you have a second go at GBS after all these years. And doing a scene or two with Caroline would make for a fine combination, too.

Anonymous said...

Ludwig, what is the name of the two blond girls in the picture at the top, and what is the name of the GBS episode ...? Thanks !!

Ludwig said...

@ Anonymous: The model on the left is Linda. She used to be one of my favourites from this site, and that of many other viewers. The model on the right, if my memory is correct, is called Jenny. I could be wrong, as it has been quite some time since I watched GBS videos with any regularity. But I think it's Jenny.

I have no idea what the video is called. However, if you search for videos with Linda and Jenny in the GBS archive, it should be easy enough to find.

yourfavouritevegankitty said...

Thank you very much for this review! Since i started watching spanking porn I've always wondered why it seems to be so hard to find information or biographies of some actors on pay-sites! I don't want to just watch some anonymous people spank each other, i love transperency that's why i love the fact, that there's interviews etc on spankingtube! And i could tell he's German! I was almost certain, even though he makes an effort at speaking fluent english, me being a Native i can tell how some of us have a typical germanish intonation :)

Ludwig said...

@ yourfavouritevegankitty: I enjoy reading background information as well - model biographies, behind-the-scenes reports, interviews with the people who star in and produce these videos. Actually, starting an email correspondence with Niki Flynn and becoming friends with her is what originally got me into the Scene and eventually into blogging years ago. If she hadn't written her behind-the-scenes reports about her Lupus shoots, and if I had not contacted her because of that, I would never have started this blog, or appeared in videos myself, or met my mate Kaelah when she discovered my blog. It's strange how life works!

So, yeah, I do like behind-the-scenes writing and I even have a special relationship with it, you could say. At the same time, you have to keep in mind that, because of the prejudices that exist against pornography in general and BDSM porn in particular, people who appear in it are reluctant to share too much about themselves with the public. Not every model wants to do an interview or write a behind-the-scenes report, for fear of giving out details that could make their real identity traceable. And this wish for privacy has to be respected, obviously.

If you do like sites where the producers and cast have a very open, transparent relationship with the viewers, I recommend you check out Pandora Blake's Dreams of Spanking. Transparency and letting the viewers get to know the actors and producers are cornerstones of Pandora's ethical porn approach, which Kaelah and I endorse.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the Linda's real name?

Kaelah said...

@ Anonymous:
Thank you for your comment! We won't allow the outing of a model's real name on this site, though.

Let me explain, why: Spanking models of course purposefully use nicknames in order to protect their privacy. Many of them only shoot kinky videos as a kind of hobby in addition to other professional jobs and their vanilla lives. And no matter how much time a model spends in the scene, most of them don't want their vanilla neighbours, colleagues or whomever to incidentally stumble on their private hobby, because this is a very personal thing. Once the connection between real name and kinky nickname has been drawn online, though, it is almost impossible to delete it.

So, in Ludwig's and my view the models' privacy and their freedom to share only as much of themselves as they are comfortable with should be respected. And many of them already share quite a lot, given how much they show of themselves in clips, backstage interviews and sometimes also very personal blogs. Just like we are perfectly happy with people commenting anonymously on our blog and would never push our readers to share more about themselves than they are comfortable with, we are very cautious to protect the privacy of spanking models, too.