Friday, August 28, 2009

Kaelah's Corner (Aug 2009):
A Very Warm Welcome

Ah, hello! It’s nice to see you all here. As the more perceptive of you probably realised by now this is the forecourt to hell, called Rohrstockpalast. And I’m the King’s mate*, good evening! But you can call me Kaelah, if you like. A very warm welcome to my little corner of the Rohrstockpalast. I hope you’re going to enjoy yourselves! (* Yes, this is a modern monarchy!)

For everyone still wondering what the hell is going on: This is of course still Ludwig’s Rohrstockpalast. Since I love writing almost as much as Ludwig does, I was quite sad that due to my vanilla duties I haven’t got enough time to run my own blog. So Ludwig kindly gave me the permission to write a little guest column from time to time. More precisely, you’ll hear from me once every month.

As those of you who have read Ludwig’s K-Day post already know, I’m German like him. Unfortunately my writing style in English might not be as fluent and eloquent as Ludwig’s. I just hope it doesn’t sound too strange for the native speakers among you.

Since this is my first post I guess one important question is: What could be interesting for you to know about me? Well, if you have realised from whom I lent the title and the first sentences of this post, then we obviously share the same kind of humour. In case you don’t have a clue what the title is all about you should have a look. I think it’s a hilarious little piece of comedy. Especially because of my connection to the church and religion. And it is something I shared with Ludwig in one of my early mails – so there’s also a little bit of nostalgia involved for me… Besides of this little excursion I decided not to bore you with a long self-introduction, though. You’re going to find out more about me in my future posts.

But what will be the subjects of these posts? When Ludwig and I came up with the idea for Kaelah’s Corner, I didn’t have a concrete plan what I’m going to write about. Which is quite unusual for me. Normally I always have a plan. Well, honestly, most of the time it’s not just A PLAN. It’s more like PLAN A, alternate PLAN B, C and so on. Or, as Ludwig once remarked: “You don’t even go to the bathroom without a plan.” Well, I’ve already thought a little bit about it by now (the blog posts, not the comment about the bathroom!), and I have developed some ideas.

First and foremost: The post titles! Yes, as all marketing people know, the name is the most important task when inventing a new product. I decided that I’m going to use song (or comedy sketch, movie, poem…) titles for my blog entries. Among these things, music plays an especially important role in my life – listening to music helps me to both arrange my ideas and set free my emotions. I got the inspiration from one of my favourite bloggers, writers and actors, Wil Wheaton, who some years ago named his blog posts after song titles he heard on the radio. By the way, of course Wil Wheaton is only my second favourite blogger, writer and actor, but I guess this is beyond question.

You don’t know who Wil Wheaton is? He’s best known for his portrayals of Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. You haven’t seen STTNG either? Congratulations: unlike me, you’re obviously not a complete geek and maybe even still living in the 21st Century. Oh, and for everyone reading this blog who belongs to the “Kill Wesley” faction – I’m totally convinced you’re just jealous because you would love to save the ship at least once in your life, too. At least this is one of my core fantasies… Um, where was I? Ah, yes, ideas for my blog posts.

So, what are the posts going to be about? Since I’m very new to practically exploring my kink as well as living in a relationship, these are going to be the main subjects. There are a lot of thoughts and questions on my mind concerning all the new experiences I’m recently making, and more general themes as well. That’s what I would like to write about. So my posts are going to be very personal. And of course I would love to hear about your ideas and experiences, too! So I hope you’re going to share your thoughts and we’re going to have a lot of insightful discussions in the comment section!

And here is my first question to you right away: Is there anything you would like me to write about? Any subjects you are particularly interested in? Please tell me by either leaving a comment or sending a mail to kaelah ~at~ gmx ~dot~ de. I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Qapla’ and take care!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Movie Review: Amelia-Jane Rutherford Vol. 2


Strictly English (released in 2006)

Entire Story In Fewer Words Than Are In This Sentence:
Amelia-Jane gets interviewed, caned

Victim Appeal:
Naughty Amelia-Jane is not only one of the most majestically beautiful models in the spanking video industry (some people would say the most majestically beautiful), but also one of the loveliest in terms of presence and demeanour. In my review of Vol. 1 of this series, I wrote: "Men want her, women want to be her, and some women both want her and want to be her." Can't really put it any better than that. Here, her adventures with Strictly English continue. We get more interview and audition scene material, and the conclusion of the "Amelia-Jane & The Tutor" movie with the magnificent Professor Templeton. Also, we get to see Miss Rutherford caned this time. Yay! Volume 2 really is a continuation rather than a sequel, and the two movies are best watched back-to-back.

Gratuitous Sadism:
The video opens with another short interview, or to be more precise, the continuation of the interview we saw in Vol. 1. After the first part of her audition / screen test, Amelia-Jane is changing clothes, combing her hair etc. before the second little spanking scene. They are talking about how the first session went and what her thoughts about the upcoming one are. It's another great little segment to watch, both enlightening and funny. In regards to the second screen test, Ameila-Jane quips "Bring it on, really!", but she's a bit more nervous about this one in terms of acting, because now, she has to be asking for the spanking, basically - being a naughty girl and seducing the top until he bends her over. It's the kind of character Amelia-Jane enjoys, but also more of a challenge.

So, next up, there is Amelia-Jane in sexy dress, flaunting herself on the sofa, sipping on a glass of wine and bantering cheekily with the male top (father figure, husband figure, not sure what he is supposed to be here, exactly...), while he is sitting in his chair with the Business News and pretending not to be interested ("I'm trying to read the newspaper!"). Needless to say, though, he's had enough after a short while ("Alright, that's it!") and a series of hand spankings over Amelia-Jane's red panties ensues. First over the knee, then while she is bending over the sofa, and finally in a rather unorthodox position - the top sitting in his chair, Amelia-Jane with her hands on the floor and kneeling on his lap. Interesting, I'll have to try that one sometime. After he spanks her into being a good girl again, she goes back to the sofa puppy-dog eyed and contentedly whimpers: "Thank you very much...!" It's a nice little scene, a little over ten minutes, with the spankings a tad harder than during the first audition. It closes with a few behind-the-scenes shots, with the participants having a good time and talking about how it went.

The larger part of Vol. 2 (around 45 minutes) is taken up by the second half of the "Amelia-Jane & The Tutor" spanking movie. In a nutshell, she plays a sociology student who wants to improve her grades with the help of a well-respected, but shall we say, somewhat eccentric professor (he has some pretty "traditional" ideas about discipline, you see). Carrying over from Vol. 1, they continue to read an essay she has written. In the words of Professor Templeton, it is "a ridiculous piece of work, close to taking the mickey, no effort made whatsoever", and you can imagine the methods he regards as best-suited to improve her work ethic for the future...

While Vol. 1 and the first half of "The Tutor" contained only hand spankings, Miss Rutherford and Strictly English kick the action up a notch or two in this one. As her lesson with Professor Templeton continues, she also encounters the slipper, the strap (he refers to it as a "paddle", but it really looks like a strap to me), a Scottish tawse, and for the grand finale, the cane. She gets around 25 strokes with the last implement - hard to determine the exact number, as there are frequent miscounts, extra strokes, instances of starting over two strokes before, et cetera, in the interaction between the tutor and his student. Also, he uses the occasional preparatory "tap" that might qualify as a stroke in its own right... Let's call it 25 in total, thereabouts.

The number isn't all that important, anyway. This isn't Mood Pictures stuff, it's a video where the story, the characters and the chemistry between the players are the focus of attention. That said, the action is hard enough this time around to be exciting from a sadistic point of view, too. The cane and the other implements leave some nice, moderate marks, and Amelia-Jane is crying and sobbing quite a bit at the end. The video then concludes with a couple of bloopers and outtakes from "The Tutor".

Best Reactions:
The more vocal reactions during the caning, the flinching and howling, are fun to watch, but I really like Amelia-Jane best when she is acting in her petulant "Nooo, you can't do this to me!" princess mode. Few models do it as well as she does, and she does it a lot here!

Best Line:
There are plenty of gems in the banter between Amelia-Jane and Professor Templeton again. Take this one, when he first shows her the slipper and she blurts out: "Are you going to hit me with that?" He, with perfectly dry British wit: "It's a rather crude way of putting it, but yes, it sums up the situation."

However, the line I really liked the best comes from the top during the screen test, when he admonishes Amelia-Jane: "Do not flaunt your naked flesh!" I just love the way he says that.

Nice Psychological Touch:
The chemistry in the tutor and student scenario is superb from start to finish. Watch Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 back-to-back and observe how, after the abounding light-hearted humour in number one, as the two of them meet and the first scenes follow, such exchanges get a little less frequent here and things get a little more "serious", both in character and in the attitude of the players. Professor Templeton, while fully retaining his dry humour, becomes stricter and more intimidating while his student becomes more obedient and progressively less likely to come back with cheeky remarks. The development is well-acted and it's great to follow the mounting tension all the way from the start to the climax / the final caning.

How Good Is It Really?
Like Vol. 1, very good indeed. Amelia-Jane and Strictly English did many more videos together (they are at volume eight now, as far as I know), and I don't think I will review every one of those - I have enough other movies to cover, and you get a good idea of what the whole collaboration looks like from the two reviews so far. Hardcore fans will want to own it all, anyway. As for Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 of the series, though, they really are a must-see not just for viewers who like Miss Rutherford or Strictly English in particular, but for anyone with an interest in spanking videos.

What You Learned:
After "Amelia-Jane & The Tutor" and An American Brat in London, Professor Ernest Templeton is really becoming one of my favourite tops. The man has wit, authority, class... The only nitpicking complaint I can find is the fact that he may be a brilliant sociologist, but he isn't much of a mathematician - there are a couple of miscounts of strokes from his side. Like during the slippering: "We have now reached the interesting number of nine strokes." Err, no, Mr. Ries, I definitely only counted eight! But hey, we all sometimes have our problems with keeping track...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dalibor's Tower

As a blogger, one of the things I enjoy the most is the interaction with the readers in its various forms. Not just through comments and emails, but in more unusual, interesting ways as well - votes, competitions, blogiversary spankings, football bets, that sort of thing.

It's great to have something "special" like that once in a while, not just because reader interaction in all its forms is one of the things that make blogging worthwhile in the first place (otherwise, we could all just write a diary for our own eyes only), but because I find all this fabulously interesting from a human perspective. Especially when it concerns kink and the kinky mindset, which thrives on interaction, anyway: between top and bottom, between more than two people in a scene perhaps, between spanking models and video viewers...

The more complex the interpersonal dynamics in a situation are, the more I tend to find myself intrigued by it. Put a "live" audience within a spanking video scene, for instance. You have the video audience watching the live audience, so you have the video audience watching themselves, in a way, and of course you have the top watching the bottom, and vice versa, as always, and you have them watching and interacting with the live audience, which is a representative of the video audience, and so on and so forth. That's the kind of stuff my inner anthropological observer loves.

Another thing I love is having the readers theorise about something, challenging people's creativity and imagination. We recently had a lot of it with the Fiona Locke Affair, or to use another example, we had the K-Day Compeition on this blog, where I asked you readers to interpret a strange poem, picture and post of mine (actually, the poem was written by Kaelah).

As usual, it was hard to decide on a winner. Two comments really stood out for me, one by PallidBust and one by Arjuna. The former because it was so remarkably (and intentionally) outlandish, the latter because it was so remarkably accurate. PallidBust interpreted "K-Day" and my post as "a tragic car wreck of Heinlein and Lovecraft", and you really have to read his mini-essay for yourself, because I can't even begin to sum up its wacky brilliance here. Arjuna, on the other hand, had figured out the truth behind K-Day and what I was about to announce, right down to the last detail, and wrote it down with Sherlock Holmes-like precision. So you had a case of great fiction-writing versus great fact-finding, two totally different contributions, each impressive in its own way.

Fact-finding won the day, I declared Arjuna the winner. I was sorry not to be able to reward PallidBust as well, especially because he had so nicely picked up on the Lovecraft-esque touch of the poem (which was of course intentional, "do you dare open it?", that sort of pseudo-antiquated language). But in the end, after much deliberation, I just had to give the nod to Arjuna's perceptiveness.

Now, one could argue that being perceptive is less difficult than being inventive and creative - as Sherlock Holmes himself used to say in his wonderful fake modesty, "there is nothing remarkable about using one's eyes". And normally, I would probably be inclined to agree. But Arjuna's detective work really was remarkable to me. It's one thing to figure out the truth, other readers who follow the blog with some regularity probably could have done it, too (some probably did, in silence!). But it is quite another thing to figure out the truth in so much tiny detail and near-perfect accuracy, as Arjuna did. He pieced together quite a few different things, even relatively small clues which I had sort of dropped "on the side", from quite a few different previous posts. Which means that not only did he read the blog regularly, he also read it very thoroughly. And how could I possibly withstand such flattery?

For instance, Arjuna not only figure out what was on the photo in the "K-Day is coming!" post (the shadows of Kaelah and me), he even ventured a guess as to where it was taken: "Part of a Lupus set or Ludwig’s basement." And the first half of that guess turned out to be near-correct: while the picture is not actually from a Lupus set, it was indeed taken in Prague, during the time when I was there for the Garden Party shoot (which reminds me, the movie is coming out on September 1st, the wolf pack tells me, so watch out for that and my full behind-the-scenes report soon).

Kaelah and I made the picture when we visited Dalibor's Tower, an old prison tower in Prague Castle, during our trip. The most famous prisoner there during its long history was one Dalibor of Kozojedy, a Czech knight who lead a peasant uprising in 1496. After being captured and sentenced, he spent the rest of his life in the tower which now bears his name, and legend has it that he played his violin a lot while in captivity. Legend also has it that the ghost of Dalibor still haunts Prague Castle today, and that one can sometimes hear the sounds of the violin emanating from the tower at night. On a sidenote, for the classical music lovers among you, Bedrich Smetana wrote an opera about the story of Dalibor. Oh, and there's a pretty interesting Smetana museum in Prague, too, which Kaelah and I went to as well.

So, that is where the picture is from. Just like the following one, which I'm also going to share with you for the fun, as a K-Day epilogue:

It shows a hangman's axe. Notice how the shadow of the axe goes through the throat of our shadows? Almost through Kaelah's, right through mine? That wasn't intentional when we took the picture, we just noticed it afterwards. Hopefully it's not a sign of things to come, like the photographs in The Omen. Then again, neither of us is named Keith Jennings! And if I found out that the Antichrist was really walking among us, I for one would try to conduct an interview, not block his path. Hey, I'm a historian, I'm supposed to simply record things and talk to the important personalities of our time! (Kaelah is a practising Christian, so she may have other ideas...)

Anyway, you can see that axe in Dalibor's Tower, alongside some exhibits with quite a bit of potential kink value, like torture racks or a "leading fork" - you know, a pole with a metal ring which you put around a person's neck, "for the guidance of prisoners", as the illustrating text cheerfully described it. Have a look if you happen to be in Prague one day, take your girlfriend or boyfriend along, you might find yourselves getting inspired.

So, I hope you like the picture and today's post. Oh, and PallidBust, don't gripe too much. You win some, you lose some, it was an excellent contribution in any case and I loved it. You can stop skulking, get out of your cave, disband your coalition of evil and let Christmas live. (And if you do insist on taking your revenge, I should warn you, I'm ready for you, punk!)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fiona's Riddle Unlocked

The truth is out: Niki Flynn is Fiona Locke. After years of speculation about the identity of this celebrated spanking fiction writer (a kinky model from the UK scene? a man in disguise? J.K. Rowling in disguise?), Niki decided to lift the veil and officially fessed up some ten day ago. Well, there goes another of the great mysteries in our kinky community, unravelled by the werewolf girl - and this time, it is a mystery she had created in the first place.

Like most of her friends, I had been in on the secret, and I did in fact participate eagerly when Niki asked us to stir the rumour mill about "Fiona" one last time prior to her coming out. I'm sure you noticed the flurry of posts which started popping up about the subject in July, written by bloggers like Emma Jane, Pandora Blake, me... Now you know what was behind them. Never in our wildest dreams, though, did we expect that it would create such a massive response. Suddenly, there was this huge, inter-blog discussion with dozens of comments, each one of them seemingly containing three new theories about Fiona Locke. I pointed the finger at Pandora Blake, claiming that she was Fiona. Pandora pointed the finger at Haron of The Spanking Writers. Prefectd aka Spanked Hortic decided to get in on the fun and pointed the finger at me:

"Ludwig has denied being Fiona Locke, which of course makes him a prime suspect. I get the impression that he would revel in the idea of having the whole of the spanking internet world running around like headless chickens wondering who Fiona Locke is. He would do this just for the twisted fun of it."

You got me there, mate - I do enjoy twisted fun! Which doesn't, however, change the fact that, in this case at least, the whole twisted fun was all Niki's idea. I'm a virtuous gentleman (in addition to being a pathological sadist), and I don't shy away from accepting blame when it is justified. But in this case, I have to agree with Lucy McLean, who recently wrote: "Given that Niki asked us to do it, I think she should be punished!" So, if you're going to bay for anyone's blood after our collective game of smoke and mirrors, you should bay for Niki's. Mind you, of course everybody and his brother is already doing that now!

But I am getting ahead of myself. So, anyway, Prefectd said that I'm probably Fiona, amidst half a dozen other theories that Fiona was Pandora Blake, one of Pandora's doms, Abel and / or Haron of The Spanking Writers, Caroline Grey, Caroline's dom, or perhaps Pandora Blake's cat, Fatface (of course, this isn't really a picture of Fatface, but it sure is a cute lolcat picture). I liked the cat theory in particular. Oh, and somewhere along the way, my Klingon girlfriend Kaelah put forward the idea that, maybe, "Fiona" was really a collective of authors. You know, similar to what the so-called "anti-Stratfordians" are saying about Shakespeare.

Yeah, it can get a tad confusing to keep track. But that was precisely the point, you see. Wile we were spreading all this merry and deliberate confusion, a few helpful souls who weren't in on the deal started pointing out that, quite obviously, Niki was Fiona. Needless to say, they had all the good, incontestable arguments on their side, too! Niki had written a book of her own, her "spanking memoirs" Dances With Werewolves. Conspicuously, it was under the same publisher as Fiona's work. And didn't the faceless woman on Fiona's book covers, the one with the shapely bottom and the long legs, look exactly like Niki?

We ignored these annoyingly perceptive individuals as well as we could! Fortunately, there was this other (anonymous) guy commenting on Pandora's blog, who earnestly asserted that: "Sorry to be obsessive but no, Fiona Locke is not Niki Flynn. Photographs of her were published on British Spanking at the time of the 2004 Night of the Cane and they are not remotely alike. And Niki was known by then, anyway. Both have posted on that site and their written styles are different."

As I always say, God bless all the spanking forum experts out there, who hear the grass grow and know everything about everyone in the scene. Without them, people like Niki and me wouldn't know what is going on with ourselves!

So, by this point, the really interesting question had become who among the many contributors to the "anti-Flynnean" camp really believed in what they were saying, and who didn't. As my friend Indy wrote in an email to me: "The only mystery behind the Fiona posts now is which commentators are pretending to be dense and which really are... I did write Graham to tell her she was right and that Niki was just having a bit of fun before revealing herself."

Speaking of emails, I received just as many mails about the whole Fiona thing as comments to my blog post. And the post got 23 comments, more than any other since I had done my first professional CP film several months ago. I was almost sorry to see it all end when Niki finally did her own paranoid pre-coming out post, followed by her proper coming out post two weeks later, on August 10th.

As a friend and as a fan, I'm glad that Niki is now able to publicly take the credit for her work as a spanking fiction writer in addition to the many plaudits she has already received for her filming and modelling. She really is a multi-talent, and "Fiona's" stuff is just as good in its own right as "Niki's". Another nice thing, now that the mystery is lifted, is the fact that people who have so far only been aware of either "incarnation" will now probably look at the other one, too. They will find new and interesting things to read or watch, and new facets of the auteur behind it all.

At the same time, it saddens me a bit to think that we're not going to hear any more delightful banter about Pandora's cat. Or about J.K. Rowling's cat. Does it really have to be the end, now that the truth about Fiona is out? Can't anybody think of interesting theories about what other mischief the cats might be up to?

As for me, I'm a historian, not a zoologist. My job is to chronicle things. So, on that note, as the spanking blogosphere's resident chronicler, let me end this post by collecting and archiving all the contributions to the Fiona Locke Affair, by all the authors. I don't think anyone else has made a proper list yet. Here is the definitive blog link history of five weeks when chaos reigned (and if you know something I've missed, please give me a nudge):

July 7th: I am not Fiona Locke by Emma Jane
July 9th: Fiona Locke: Enquiring minds want to know by Zille Defeu
July 11th: Who in the World is Fione Locke? by Ludwig
July 13th: I'm Fiona Locke, and so's my wife! by Pandora Blake
July 16th: Fiona Locke? New photographic evidence by Spanked Hortic
July 16th: Who is Fiona Locke by Leia-Ann Woods
July 19th: Fiona Locke by The Mystery Minx
July 21st: Will The Real Fiona Locke Please Stand Up? by Pixie Wells
July 25th: The Locke Identity by Niki Flynn
July 28th: More on the Fiona Locke Mystery by Zille Defeu
August 9th: That Fiona Chick by Mija
August 10th: Chaos Reigns! by Niki Flynn

Thanks to Niki aka Fiona for inviting us fellow bloggers to be part of her revelation. And you're welcome, it was fun to create so much chaos on your behalf.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Website Review: Her First Punishment

This is my tenth website critique, a jubilee of sorts, so I'm doing something a bit out of the ordinary. All the sites I've covered so far focused on original content. I usually don't review sites that simply offer a selection of some producer's movies, like Punished Girls (Calstar) or Spanking Vids (Strictly English). They are both good sites, but there is not much to say about them except: "Well, titles x, y, z are for download, and they all work fine!" I'd rather talk about standalone, full-length movies in the movie review section, where they belong.

However, I'm making an exception for Her First Punishment and their archive of Russian Slaves videos. First off, it's a jubilee today, secondly, this is an interesting producer, and I haven't reviewed any Russian videos at all so far. Third, and most important, is the fact that this is a near-complete collection. Normally, sites like these only have a rather small selection from a producer's catalogue. Not so with Her First Punishment: at the time of this writing, there are some 60 Russian Slaves titles in existence, and the website has 50 of them for download, in good technical quality. So it really is a must-see for fans. You probably won't find every last Russian Slaves movie you are looking for, but you'll find most of them.

As the name implies, it is all Russian stuff - Russian cast, Russian dialogue, and from what it looks like, all filmed in Russia (even though the producers, "Nettles Corporation", are officially based in New York!). You know that I'm a fan of Eastern European films, like Lupus Pictures from the Czech Republic or Mood Pictures from Hungary. Strictly speaking, though, "Eastern" is a misnomer in their case: geographically and culturally, these countries are a part of central (!) Europe. If it hadn't been for the Cold War, nobody would think of them as "Eastern". By contrast, Russia really is Eastern Europe, and the RS flicks have a unique vibe that sets them apart not only from English-language videos, but also from the Czech or Hungarian ones.

That said, the movies are typically "Eastern" CP films in terms of ferociousness. Hard canings, hard whippings, graphic welts. They aren't quite as bloody as latter-day Mood - the beatings tend to have fewer strokes, and they are a little less severe. However, the girl's reactions are even more harrowing. You won't find more real tears, more howls of anguish, more cries of "I can't stand this any longer!" in the work of any other producer. I have no doubt that the RS material is produced in a consensual manner. The relaxed behind-the-scenes interviews with the spankees are testimony to that, as is the fact that many of them come back to do more than one shoot (some even progressing to the domme side). Still, these videos push the envelope, and their appeal is mostly for hardcore sadists.

Another thing that will turn off some viewers is the technical side of the production, which, shall we say, lacks refinement. Actually, the editing is among the worst I've ever seen, and I'm including amateur clips I saw on Spankingtube. There are repetitions of shots, frequent glimpses of "abortive" shots between the "proper" shots, a few frames here, a second there... I even found one instance where the video is rewinding for a moment, while you watch it, before it starts moving forward again. And in some scenes, you hear the director talking on camera. But while there are quite a few glitches like that, the filming itself - the camerawork, the lighting - is okay. Also, it all gets better in the more recent videos. The oldest RS titles go back to 2001, and in fairness, one has to remember that even Lupus / Rigid East made some pretty shoddy stuff in those days!

With these caveats out of the way, let's get to the strong points. If you are a sick-minded severity freak like me, you're going to have a field day. This is the real deal. And many of the girls are gorgeous, too. I like these Russian models, and obviously, you can't see them anywhere else. But honestly, the main reason why I enjoy Nettles Corp. epics is that they really have a vibe and tone of their own. Like I said, they are different from anything else on the market. Beyond the fine sadistic beatings, beyond the eye candy, this stuff is also culturally interesting. The Russian language, the locations, the particular tops and bottoms who star in these videos, the mentality on display... It's a glimpse into another world, one that is even more exotic to our Western eyes than what the Czechs or the Hungarians do. And that, to me, is priceless. I'd even say that the lack of sophistication adds to the flair. If you wanted to be cliché about it, you could say that the movies are "Russian" all the way: a bit rough around the edges, but with sturdy, solid qualities and lots of character.

That character can be disturbing. Some videos are about kidnappings ("The Abduction"), others show scenes of rape and sadistic abuse ("The Cruel Plumber", "In Sadist's Hands"). Also on the menu, we have police brutality ("Prostitute in Hands of Police Gang") and domestic brother-and-sister stuff ("Punishment in Russian Family"). Not to mention a whole series of films featuring a "Mr. Beria" character, obviously based on this lovely guy, chief of the Soviet secret police under Stalin. One wonders, if officials from the tourist board of Slovakia were outraged enough by Hostel to launch an official protest, what would their Russian colleagues say about this stuff? Ah well. Let's not forget, it's just a movie.

It certainly works in terms of dark, gritty spanko entertainment, and it works well. The props and costumes may not be up to lofty Lupus standards, but with the severity of the CP action, the cultural background, the whole "Russian style" thing, it really doesn't matter - these are memorable videos in their own right, for their own reasons. And some of the tops really get into their job. There is this one young, buff, body builder type, for instance, who is just frigging insane. I mean, insane! He doesn't have the intimidating majesty of a Pavel Stastny, but he projects a raw, savage aggressiveness that is even more frightening in its way. Think of him as Buffalo Bill compared to Pavel's Dr. Lecter. And at the same time, he does show a certain, underlying tenderness towards the girls he works with. It really is quite fascinating to watch.

Not all videos are from the "totally dark" category. RS also do the obligatory schoolgirl scenarios, which are quite different from their English-language counterparts as well. Instead of cheerleaders and headmasters, we get "Girl Gangs in Russian Schools", "Sports School in Moscow", "Sports School in the Country", "Angry Coach"... Now that I think of it, they must really like the sports theme. They also like priests and naughty nuns, with a whole series devoted to "Life in a Russian Convent". The body builder type plays an Orthodox cleric, and believe it or not, he's quite good in the role.

Moreover, the RS films feature an above average number of outdoor scenes, where the spankees are tied to trees or wooden benches. Benches and the "lying on the belly" position are used a lot, indoors as well. On the implement side, there is pretty much everything. The hand, the cane, the wooden paddle, the belt... Also some more exotic items: the sports coach whips his students with what I believe is a rubber jump rope, and in good traditional Russian fashion, there are many floggings with birches and tree twigs.

Last but not least, I should mention the subtitles. They are a major hoot, rambling on in a parody of English. Take the "family" film for example, where the older brother catches his two sisters (or his sister and a friend, or whatever...) in an act of lesbian play, using a vibrator. The following monologue ensues: "Fuck! What's going on? Whores, why they engage in this here? Lesbian love! You, creature, give me this!" She hands him the vibrator, he goes on: "Such a bitch! Thousand hungry mans around. What, it's not enough man for you? Must you stuff in pussy all sorts of rubbish? Whore! You violate healthy social atmosphere!"

In all the videos, there is a lot of "whores" this and "bitches" that, especially when our body builder friend is screaming his head off like a madman, again. But it really is too silly and funny to be offensive. I mean, how can you not like these lines? "Now, get undress up to underpants!" I think it's fucking brilliant, pardon my Russian. Another flaw that is really a blessing in disguise.

With all their flaws and blessings, I enjoy the RS videos a lot, I really do. Beautiful girls, harsh whippings, scenarios that are delightfully cheesy and delightfully disturbing at the same time, a little socio-political satire, crazy subtitles... It reminds me of early Rigid East, mixed with Mood Pictures, and a distinctly Russian charm on top. Some people won't like it, but good-natured sadists certainly will. You know who you are.

For fans, Her First Punishment is a perfect deal. Fifty full-length movies and counting, hours and hours of material. The technical quality is good - old titles in .rm format at 650 kb/s, newer ones as .wmv's with a resolution of 720 x 576 pixels. The downloads are available as single files or split into shorter clips. Neat site layout, basically just a list of movies that goes over several pages, with a couple of preview pictures for each one. Pretty much like the preview section. In addition to the video downloads, most of the titles also have a gallery of stills.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Audience Is Listening

...and getting rightfully impatient. Sorry to keep you waiting for August's first post. It seems that every time I was going to sit down and write it, something unexpected came up that had to be taken care of first. And no, in case you are wondering: my newfound Klingon mate is not to blame for the delays (this time at least). I simply had a lot of job work to do.

However, speaking of Klingon mates, let's get to the title subject of today's little essay: I'm glad you all liked "Where No Man Has Spanked Before" from two weeks ago. At a whopping 3,400 words, it was hopefully nutritious enough to get most of you over the subsequent break without crippling withdrawal symptoms. And, needless to say, the post was unusual in other aspects, too! I certainly wrestled with it for a long time, even more than is reflected in the sheer size. I wanted to get it just right, just perfect. Mind you, I approach all my writing with a fair bit of perfectionism, even the n-th movie review. But I don't need to tell you that this was something else entirely. So, it was a very happy post to make, but also a somewhat daunting one.

I think that all of us who write, no matter how skilled, perceptive or eloquent we are, know these times only too well, when we feel unable to find the right words. It is a frequent struggle, and the closer a subject is to our heart, the more we struggle to describe it. How do you describe a person, anyway? What someone is like, your impressions, your feelings about them? Even when you are not dealing with loved ones, even when it concerns more mundane relationships, it's a pretty difficult task.

Let's say you are asked to describe a friend you know from your school days, to another friend of yours, and they've never met or heard anything about each other. What most of us do is, we resort to giving a series of adjectives. They might be physical attributes, personality traits, little biographical things... What someone does nowadays, where they came from, likes and dislikes they have, hobbies and quirks... Usually a combination of all that. Piece by piece, these attributes are supposed to form a picture of the person, like adding dots on a canvas. Or, you can look at it from the opposite angle, as a process of elimination: while each of these attributes is shared by countless people ("tall", "dark-haired", "grew up in Montana"...), you narrow the group down with each additional one, until you get a combination of attributes that really singles out this one particular individual. Not necessarily in the world, but probably among your acquaintances.

We don't usually do this consciously, of course, but I think it's a reasonably accurate description of what most of us tend to do in effect, in practice, most of the time. It just seems like the natural approach. I thought about it, too, while I was writing "Where No Man Has Spanked Before". After the opening and the buildup, how Kaelah and I first got in touch with each other, how we started writing mails et cetera, after I get past all that, how do I really describe her as a person? How do I introduce my girlfriend to you, what she's like, what I love about her, why she is special to me? I could have given you a whole string of attributes, and I did in fact give you quite a few over the course of the story: smart, courageous, thoughtful, witty, similar sense of humour to mine, similar likes and dislikes, her openness, her clarity of purpose, a certain shyness, an even greater, quiet confidence... Kaelah is all that and more. But can a list like that ever capture the essence of a person, or express the essence of your feelings towards that person? I don't think so.

So, instead of going overboard on adjectives, I decided to just describe the events, what happened, what we did, and let that speak for itself. I've done it before in my movie shoot reports. The subject matter may be totally, utterly different - you probably can't find two more disparate posts of mine, in terms of general vibe, than Kaelah's introduction on the one hand and Part IV of the Hostel Trilogy: Communion on the other! But the tactic behind the writing wasn't really fundamentally different. When you look at the four-part report on Mood, for instance, a lot of it is really just a series of anecdotes. Anecdotes which are, hopefully, interesting in their own right. But the real aim there is not just to tell a bunch of funny little stories, it is to try and capture, through them, the essence of the whole experience. For me, that works much better than writing "okay, I'll tell you how I felt". Or rather, it works best when I use the two in combination: the anecdotes, and the introspection.

That is why, among other things, I put in how I first thought, after the Global Day of Delurk, that "K'Ehleyr" is a German-Turkish guy. In one way, it's just an amusing detail and arguably doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. But in another, it expresses much more than that - capturing, at least in my mind, a bit of the essence of how Kaelah and I met, how we first became aware of each other's existence over the internet, the incredible luck, the beauty of it all. It also captures, along with the rest of the story, how your image of someone changes and evolves over time as you get closer and learn more about each other. How you are interested at first, then intrigued, then in love...

So, in the end, I tried to treat "Where No Man Has Spanked Before" like any other post. Kaelah gave me much the same advice when I mentioned my struggles to her: "Just write down what happened." Don't worry too much about the elusive perfect wording or the elusive adjectives. It wasn't any other post, of course, but I could pretend that it was, and it worked surprisingly well. When I finally tackled it, the post basically wrote itself. Long and arduous gestation period, easy birth.

Considering the overwhelmingly positive response, all the "cute" and "sweet" and "aaaaww" comments, it seems that I didn't fail too badly at finding the right words after all. And yeah, I'm happy that the post shows a cuter side of me, one that had perhaps been getting obstructed a bit in recent months. Now, in addition to the sadistic Mood / Lupus top who loves nothing more than to see girls writhing under his cane, there is a glimpse of the other side again, and you have a more complete portrayal. If you happen to be wondering how the two fit together, though, I can't help you with that. I haven't figured that one out myself yet!

(Actually, I do have some pretty elaborate theories as usual, but they belong in a post of their own. Or a whole series of posts...)

As Karl Friedrich Gauss observed in his comment: "Looks like the start of a whole new era." I suppose it is, not just in terms of what is happening in my life, but also in terms of what I write about here. I'm still pondering how and where the two belong together, exactly. I mean, look, when I first started this blog in January 2008, my idea was to keep myself out of the picture as much as possible. I really saw myself as an observer rather than an actor, as someone who writes about others rather than himself. Those are my main strengths, I thought, writing and theorising. So I'll do philosophical ramblings, I'll do movie critiques... Things of that nature.

Of course, it wasn't going to work then just as it isn't going to work now, because this is a kinky blog where by definition, one is talking about highly personal, intimate things - even when it is supposedly "third person" content like movie reviews. And the brilliant original plan got diluted rather quickly by doing free video clips, doing a couple of professional shoots, doing public football bets... Before I know it, I'm a minor celebrity in my own right.

Flattering as that may be for my exhibitionist streak, which I suppose must exist somewhere (or I wouldn't be doing all this crap in the first place), there is also a part of me that remains quite uncomfortable about being in the spotlight like this. It isn't shyness as much as the fact that I just keep wondering: how interesting is it, really? My writing, my reviews and stuff, sure. The things I sometimes do, like going to a shoot, sure! But me, my personal life? Not at all. I'm basically a monk, I read books all day. And I'm happy like that. But the point is, there simply isn't much to report about it!

Or rather, there wasn't much to report - here's another thing Kaelah changed, as I suddenly find myself with an eventful personal life now. It's a weird feeling, I tell you. Especially as it makes me even happier than the cloister once did. So, now that she has wiped out the last main excuse I had for not writing about myself, I look forward to more interesting balancing issues between my exhibitionist streak and my guarded streak. And while I'm sorting that conundrum out, I'll continue to inadvertently drag this once innocent girl down into the glitzy depths of spanking porn stardom like a millstone around her neck (or like a boot on her back, if you want a kinkier metaphor). How fortunate for her that she met me.

But seriously, and obviously, I really am looking forward to having more about us on the blog. Of course, there will be some questions on my mind, especially in the beginning, about what to include, what not to include, what is interesting and what is perhaps less so from a kinky blogging perspective. Most of all, the question of finding the right words, again. I'll have a new challenge as a writer. At the same time, Kaelah is going to write her own monthly column, which will be another injection of new lifeblood. It'll be exciting for sure, and that's before telling you about the other pet projects we already have in the works...

For today, though, I'm looking back rather than forward. When I think about how I found Kaelah (how she found me, actually!) and about how I now write about it, I am reminded once again of this strange relationship we have among bloggers and readers, among all of us in this virtual kinky community. The dichotomy of it: here we are, sharing all these intimate, intensely private fantasies and fetishes. With many of us, it is stuff that even our closest (vanilla) friends and family don't know about. And yet, in another way, we are the proverbial perfect strangers. A few of us meet, once in a while, in the real world. But most of us don't. A few of us are reckless (or safe) enough to show our faces on the web. But most bloggers manifest themselves as disembodied voices - or rather, disembodied writing. The same goes for the readers, if they leave comments at all. Most of the 1,134 unique visitors I had on average, per day, over the last month remain just that, a statistic on the hit counter. And no real names ever, of course!

I'm not saying that this is a sad state of affairs. That is not my point at all. No, it's great to have this virtual community, and I certainly can't complain about a lack of communication. If anything, I have trouble keeping up with all the blogs I like, and even with "only" a few dozen among my readers ever making themselves heard, my mailbox frequently fills up to the brim. But it is quite an intriguing combination, the intimacy and the semi-anonymous distance of it all. Moreover, there is a romanticism in all the pseudonyms and the "dressing up".

Remember the illustration of the Venetian mask ball I used last year on delurk day? That is exactly what I'm talking about. And now look at what came out of that day for Kaelah and me. I can't think of a more striking illustration of what can happen when you take the plunge, take off the mask and reveal yourself to someone. When you write a blog, or a forum post, or an email. You might not meet your future girlfriend or boyfriend. But what about friends for life, or what about good penpals? Personally, I've met all three through this community. And I wasn't even looking, really. I just did my own bit of delurking one day, not many years ago, and everything that followed was a series of unplanned happy accidents. Not utterly improbable accidents, though. They do happen.

If I wanted to convey anything with "Where No Man Has Spanked Before", it was this. Sure, I was excited to share the news with you, and I appreciate the comments wishing Kaelah and me well. But beyond the purely selfish indulgence, I hoped that the post would send, in its own small way, a more general, reassuring reminder: sometimes, good things happen. Even to solitary monks and geeky Klingon warriors - and therefore, potentially to everyone.