Saturday, April 11, 2009

Monks and Roses

And I asked myself, frightened and rapt,
who was she who rose before me like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, radiant as the sun, terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata...

- UMBERTO ECO, The Name of the Rose

Sometimes on this blog, or in conversation with my friends, I refer to myself as a "monk". It isn't even that much of a joke - when I'm not on the road filming spanking porn, I lead a perfectly austere and reclusive lifestyle. I live off simple food and water, I rarely drink alcohol, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs and I only go out once in a blue moon. My dwellings are small and spartan, just the way I like it. My day is rigidly regimented. More than anything, I enjoy spending time with my books whenever I can. All I really need in life is a bed, a chair, a table, a bookshelf and a PC (just another big book, really).

I haven't taken an oath of celibacy, but I can go for months or even years as if I had and not miss anything at all (it helps if you're an imaginative person). I'm also not a religious man, as I mentioned in Penitentiam Agite!, my Easter post last year. But I am not anti-religious or a militant atheist, either - merely an agnostic, one with a profound scholarly interest in religions as systems of thought and important cultural forces. If I had lived during the Middle Ages, I probably would have been a monk - why not, it certainly beats being a peasant or a man-at-arms. Medieval monks were the scholars of their age, preserving, copying and commenting the wisdom of the ancient world. It's pretty much the same job I do today.

I daydream of being a writer or illustrator, always locked up in the scriptorium while his brothers are gardening or brewing beer. It's nice to dream of being a library monk. Of course, I would have been too much of a pig-headed individualist to fit into the monastic life, not to mention that I'm not big on getting up before sunrise. But as an idealised fantasy, it attracts me immensely. In some of my less sociable daydreams, I have made an oath of silence so I don't have to talk to anyone. Or I have been walled in altogether - they only pass me food, drink and books through a small opening.

Since I'm a straight spanko and neither completely celibate nor interested in M/M action, I can't keep other, more outlandish elements from creeping into my fantasies. In the monastery I envision, there are both monks and nuns, living together. The nuns are equal in terms of gender roles and do pretty much the same stuff the men do. Not at all realistic, I know, but the idea undoubtedly has its charm. I sometimes make up for the historical and social inaccuracy by imagining an alternate scenario where the nuns are little more than slaves. However, I find that one less appealing.

Either way, there are plenty of M/F spankings, and in the main, egalitarian universe, there is F/M, too. As we all know, a life of devotion to God and prayer requires strict, unfailing discipline! So that is what the brothers and sisters are enforcing on each other with birches, canes and whips. Sometimes one-on-one, sometimes in smaller groups, sometimes perhaps in front of the whole assembly - for the truly serious cases. Corporal punishment certainly existed in real monasteries and there is no shortage of historical accounts for inspiration. As well as that, a top dressed in monk's robes simply tends to look good - just watch the fabulous, opening caning scene in Special Case: The Colonel by Elitepain for confirmation.

But let's go back to something a bit more restrained and reality-based. My favourite monk story in book form is The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, and while it is very much a work of erudite postmodernist fiction, mixing an Arthur Conan Doyle-style murder mystery with references to Borge and semiotics, it is set in a Benedictine abbey in the early 14th century. Two visitors, a Franciscan friar named William of Baskerville (Eco's version of Sherlock Holmes) and his apprentice Adso (Dr. Watson), investigate a series of mysterious deaths at the abbey, sneak around its labyrinthine library at night and search for a lost book of Aristotle which seems to lie at the heart of the riddle. Along the way, Adso has an erotic encounter with a nameless peasant girl, and falls in love with her. She could be the "rose" in the title, even though I prefer a less obvious interpretation.

It's a great little novel, rich in layers and textures, also describing in detail the monastic life and the various religious conflicts of the time (which is swell, I'm always fond of heresies). The holy inquisition makes an appearance, too. A couple of Latin passages add fodder for the patient and classically educated reader as the book goes on, but translations are provided, of course. There is also a well-known movie version from 1986, starring Sean Connery as brother William, Christian Slater as Adso and Valentina Vargas as the girl. It takes some liberties with the book, but is pretty good as a medieval detective story - the true complexity of Eco's work is impossible to capture on film, anyway.

A scene of self-flagellation is included in the film, but unfortunately, the monk performing it is bald, pastry-skinned and weighs approximately 700 pounds! Not to sound superficial, but even if you like guys, it's probably hard to eroticise. The love scene between Adso and the girl is more inspiring, I remember that it kept my adolescent imagination pretty busy all those years ago. She makes some cute little sounds.

Parts of the movie were shot at Eberbach Abbey, a former Cistercian monastery in Hesse, Germany. I'm told that the people there get somewhat annoyed when tourists ask about it, because it's a question they get to hear all the time. The library maze was built in a studio in Rome, though, and the exteriors of the abbey are apparently a movie set as well. In any case, the look and the architecture of the whole thing has significantly shaped my kinky monk CP fantasies. I shall have to travel to Eberbach one day, to at least see some of the locations first-hand.

Maybe in 2010. This year, I'm spending the Easter holidays in the Eifel mountains. As I'm with a newfound spanko friend, I will undoubtedly have much to tell about that as well - unless she manages to cut down on the smart-ass remarks and behaves like a proper young lady for once, in which case I won't have to take her over my knee. But I doubt it. Ah well, we can't always live like monks and nuns! Not like real ones, anyway.

I wish you all a happy Easter, and see you next week.


Anonymous said...

Hello, Ludwig!

I like your blog very much and I read it closely. So closely that I'm afraid I've seen a slight error in your quotation from U.Eco's well-known (and deservely so) novel:

terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata.
castrorum, not castorum.
Castrorum: of military camps
Castorum: of chaste persons.
It makes a big difference, doesn't it?
I don't use the English translation, since I read Italian better than English. Perhaps you could have a glance at your text?



Graham said...

Ah, religion provides such great fodder for the kinky imagination, doesn't it? I loved, loved, loved the dynamic between William and Adso in The Name of the Rose (read the book, only seen parts of the film.) I wouldn't have minded seeing some M/M action there... mmm.... though, for those who aren't into that kinda thing, your nuns&monks idea is quite nice too! Yay abbeys.

Caroline Grey said...

I read the book as a kid. I was still very devout at the time and so was shocked by a lot of the content, but parts of it sure stayed with me. It inspired a lot of my early self-flagellation experiments. I need to go back and re-read it with my adult brain. I've never seen the movie, either. Thanks for reminding me!

sarah said...

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Ludwig said...

Tancredi: You are right, of course! The correct quote is "terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata", not "castorum". I've edited it now. It's a line which Eco took from the Song of Solomon in the Bible, to describe the beauty of the girl, and it means "terrible as an army set in array".

I read "The Name of the Rose" in the German translation (by Burkhart Kroeber), and it has the correct Latin phrase - I just looked it up. The English quote at the beginning of this post, however, is from an internet site that had this short passage, because I wanted an "official" English translation, but didn't want to actually buy the entire book in English.

So that site had the wrong "castorum" quote, apparently. My guess is that it came from an official English translation of the book, but the guy typing it down for his website got the Latin part wrong. I should have noticed it, because I read Latin and I know what the phrase is supposed to mean, but I was lazy and just copied the whole passage without really looking at it!

Thank you for pointing out the mistake.

Sarah: If you really like my blog, just link to it without asking anything in return. If, on the other hand, you simply want more traffic, say so - be businesslike, no need to bullshit me with "Hey, great blog!" flattery.

With that out of the way, let's get to business. I looked at your blog, I decided not to link to it, and here is why: I don't, as a rule, include blogs in my link list which are closely tied to one particular paysite.

It's not that I disapprove of them - blogs can be a great advertising tool, advertising has its place, and I even look at some of these blogs myself once in a while to see what's going on with site x or y. But when it comes to putting stuff in my link list, I'd rather inlcude blogs that have a somewhat broader scope.

I'm not going to link to your paysite, either. For one thing, it is still pretty new, and I'd rather reserve judgment until there is more content. The other reason is that, from what I can see so far, you frequently mix regular porn with spanking - blowjobs, fucking, sex toys.

If you're into that, and if your members enjoy it, great - more power to you! I know there are people who love the combination. But my taste goes in a different direction, and I have a more "puritan" outlook when it comes to CP videos. While I sometimes watch regular porn, too, I prefer to keep the two separate.

Nothing against you, just a matter of personal taste. Anyway, I'm going to take another look at your site in, say, half a year, and depending on what I see, maybe I'll link to it then. In the meantime, I send you my regards, and I wish you the best of luck with your endeavours.

oupos said...


while I like your blog in general, I have slightly different ideas on what looks good and what does not in CP films - especially in one point: the monk's robe.

While I agree that monks' robes might look good, your mentioning of Elite Pain gave me the shudders - you are obviously talking about that Max Lomp character.

I have no idea what braught Pedro and Pablo to incorporate them into their movies - perhaps he is contributing heifty somes to the production budget - but quality cannot have been an issue.

First of all his handiwork is really lousy, he just can't shooz straight (pardon the pun). I still remember in horror when a really good candidate quit in Pain Factory (methinx it was the 3rd installment) because he had accidentally hit her vagina with the tip of a cane and she - understandably - would not submit any longer to someone so errenous.

But what really tips me off is when he walks around in his fancy monk's costume - being close to Cologne you are mebbe more familiar with Carnival outfits, but I think I am not the only one who - when seeing him like this - is reminded of Papa Smurf.

Don't get me wrong, I value humor even in CP productions (MP's 'Shooting' is a good example), but unintentional humor that makes even the models cringe (look at some of Mr. Lomp's sessions of Elite Pain Castings) is so amateurish, it should be banned from all but the most amateurish of productions.

Aside from that I would like to compliment you on your blog - a job well done...

Ludwig said...

oupos: Thanks for your kind words about my blog.

No, when I mention Elitepain in this post, I am not referring to the Max Lomp character. As I wrote, I am specifically referring to the video Special Case: The Colonel. The top in that one wears a monk's robe as well. I don't know who he is - he is not credited as far as I remember. To my knowledge, this is the only video he appears in (not being an expert on Elitepain, I could be mistaken about this, though).

Whoever he is, it's a pity we don't get to see him more often. In "Special Case: The Colonel", he delivers as perfect a caning as I have ever seen: severe, accurate and with an excellent rhythm. While the movie as a whole is fairly average fare, I count the opening caning scene among my all-time favourites. The robe enhances its stylishness even more.

So, because of your mistaken assumption, your criticism of Max Lomp is pretty off-topic here. But I'm going to respond to it nonetheless.

From what I gather, Max is an old personal friend of Pedro and Pablo, who worked as assistant director and occasional male top with Mood Pictures from day one. Elitepain is Max's own brainchild, though, which he directs and produces. While Pedro appears in some of their videos, neither he nor Pablo really have much to do with Elitepain creatively. The same goes for the Mood Castings videos, which are produced by Max.

The accuracy of some of the Mood / Elitepain tops, including Max, is shaky indeed. I've voiced criticism about this on multiple occasions in the past, both on this blog and in personal conversation with Pedro. Other than that, I can't really do anything - I made sure that my own canings as a top during the "Inmates" shoot were on target, but everything else is their business, not mine. For what it's worth, Max at least isn't as bad as Lady Jessica during her worst excesses, and I know that he takes the subject of safety seriously.

As for Max looking "like Papa Smurf" in his fancy monk's costume, and whether such unintentioanl humour should be included in spanking videos, well... That is ultimately a matter of taste, so it's hard to argue about it. Personally, I say we shouldn't be too harsh. When you come to think of it, 9 out of 10 spanking videos are pretty whacky in one way or another, intentionally or not. But they can still be enjoyable. Also, knowing Max, I'm not sure that the humour is really unintentional!

In any case, since you seem to be familiar with Elitepain, I suggest you watch the caning from "Special Case: The Colonel" sometime. When I wrote "a top dressed in monk's robes simply tends to look good", I was talking about that top in that scene. You might like it better than Max's own handiwork.