Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kaelah's Corner (Feb 2010):
In The Mood

When I first heard about the Mood Pictures / Elite Pain (Mood/EP) raid, I didn’t think anything of it. Actually, I already saw the storyline for Mood’s next film after the whole affair would have been cleared up, maybe titled "Extreme Porn". The story would have been like this: Two beautiful, young but starving girls answer to a newspaper advertisement, promising them good money for an erotic photo and video shoot. They end up in the arms of a vile film crew (consisting of three equally beautiful and young girls) who abuse poor girls for the production of extremely hard spanking movies. Once in the studio the two girls are immediately tied down and thrashed with a strap and a cane. But help is already on the way in form of a SWAT team (a man and two young dommes in oversized uniforms) storming the building and taking the sinister film crew down. They decide to give the film crew a taste of their own medicine. And so the movie ends with three more severe beatings and justice is served once again…

But then it became more and more clear that this obviously wasn’t just a little intermezzo. It rather seems to be the end of the company. I haven’t taken part in the discussions that followed the news about the raid, yet. However, I wrote down my thoughts three weeks ago. At first I planned to post them as a comment on Ludwig’s
Mood Pictures Raided By Police post. But I had so many things on my mind that the final text was much too long for publishing it as a comment. I finally decided to post it as the next edition of Kaelah’s Corner, although the discussion has almost ended by now. But it’s a very personal piece of writing and posting it is important for me. So, here it goes:

I’ve been reluctant to take part in the discussion about the Mood/EP raid, not because it doesn’t move me, but because I have so many thoughts on my mind and I’m deeply emotionally involved in the whole affair. So, my comment will be very personal and not only analytical and impartial. Since my position is neither 100 per cent pro Mood/EP nor against them, I’m afraid that people on both sides might misinterpret my statements. But the topic dominates my thoughts so much that it keeps me from doing other things which are more important from an objective point of view. So, I finally decided to write down my ideas on the topic and to sort out my mind. I’ll try to separate personal thoughts about Mood/EP’s products (which to my mind might influence my point of view in the discussion and therefore should be mentioned, but can’t be a base for judging the current case) from the moral/ethical and legal issues (which are the really important points of the discussion).

My personal relationship and thoughts about Mood/EP:

I have to admit that this company was one of the reasons I’ve shed lots of tears during the last year. I don’t know how often I cried about Mood/EP related issues, but I’m very sure that I’ve shed x-times as many tears as all the girls together in one of their films. The reason for that is quite simple: While Ludwig is a (albeit critical) fan of especially Mood’s work, their newer movies are far beyond my personal limits concerning the severity of the beatings and the marks. So, when I watched the trailers of
Inmates part one and two, the movie in which Ludwig worked as a top for Mood Pictures, it made me cry heavily. The same happened more than once, when I read one of Ludwig’s reviews highly praising a certain scene and then looked at the pictures going along with it. My gut feel told me that this looked too extreme, but since I hadn’t done such a severe scene myself, I knew that I wasn’t in a position to judge the movies.

And a lot of facts didn’t support my bad feeling, for example the medical aftercare and Ludwig’s first hand experiences of the girls making jokes after the spankings were over. I desperately wanted to understand (and preferably even share) Ludwig’s enthusiasm, but instead I just felt very sad when I read something about the films or saw some pictures. I couldn’t even watch Inmates, because I knew I would end up crying and choking. Even worse, I also felt threatened by the movies. While Ludwig has been critical about certain aspects about Mood/EP, some of their (especially older) movies contain some of his favourite spanking scenes on film. In his reviews he often complimented the girls for their beauty and erotic reactions. So, from my point of view, those girls gave my boyfriend an erotic stimulation I wasn’t able to give him. It made me feel inferior to those girls and caused a lot more tears, although Ludwig always told me that our sexual experiences were completely different from and much more important than watching a movie and that whether or not I would one day do such a hard scene wasn’t important for our relationship as mates.

Still, all those different thoughts and emotions remained there. So, I finally decided that there was only one way out of the dilemma: Doing a Mood-style fifty strokes caning myself. Only that way would I be able to judge the movies based on personal experiences instead of a vague gut feel, maybe reduce the problems I had with the movies and at the same time give Ludwig a very special present and hopefully feel equal to the models afterwards. I did the scene December last year and wrote about it in the
January edition of Kaelah’s Corner. My first hope did come true, I now feel much more capable of judging the severity of the movies.

Unfortunately, aim number two and three weren’t achieved. First of all, my reactions weren’t as sexy as the reactions of some of the girls starring in the movie scenes Ludwig likes best. The whole scene from his point of view was as sexy as those scenes. But still, my reactions were (partially) not as sexy as those of some models. Well, given the fact that Mood/EP have made hundreds of scenes and I had just one shot this isn’t much of a surprise, is it? But still, the feeling of the movies remaining threatening didn’t fade. The thought of Ludwig telling me about a new scene in one of the movies that blew him away or guest-starring in another Mood film scared me to death. And the problems I had with the bad gut feel about the films? Well, after having done my own severe scene I watched both parts of Inmates. And I didn’t cry once during the whole movie! Unfortunately, I cried like mad afterwards… The only difference is now, that I can clearly distinguish the parts that have to do with my personal taste from those parts that have to do with moral issues I have with their practises. So, time to change to that more objective (and concerning the current issue only important) part of the discussion.

My appraisal of different moral/judicial aspects concerning Mood/EP:

Employing vanilla models:

To my mind, this is neither a legal nor a moral issue. We are talking about the production of a spanking porn movie, aren’t we? In my opinion this is nothing but a business. The girls are hired by the producer for a job that’s specified in a contract signed by both parties. Having fun isn’t part of a business contract, as far as I know. It sure isn’t in the contract I have with my employer… Of course I can understand that many people find spanking movies with kinky models much more interesting. And it would also be easier for me to have a good feeling about the films if I could tell myself that the girls were enjoying it because they were kinky. But I don’t see any moral issues against hiring vanillas. And, by the way, not every kinky girl would enjoy such a hard scene, either. I certainly didn’t enjoy that fifty strokes caning! I even was afraid that in case it turned out to be a very negative experience it might influence my whole kink and my sexual life negatively. Luckily, it didn’t turn out to be that bad, but it could have happened…

Financial situation of the models:

This is a point Ludwig is very concerned of. He even asked Pedro about the reasons why the girls worked for Mood/EP and whether they desperately needed the money, before he decided to work for them as a top. Pedro told him that most of the girls didn’t need the money to earn their basic living, they used it as some extra money. I have to admit that I wouldn’t even have objections against hiring girls who haven’t a huge financial background as long as they don’t do it out of the combination of a) starving and b) having no alternative job they could do in order to earn their basic living. As long as the girls have a real choice whether they want to do a job like that or not I don’t have any moral objections against hiring them.

Informed consent:

This is one of the most important aspects in my view. To me informed consent requires two things: The girls have to be told and / or shown precisely what they sign up for and they must have the chance to quit any time they want. I think the first point is widely agreed upon, but the second point has been discussed from different points of view. The question was: Is it okay when the girls sign a contract explicitly excluding the use of a safeword or, in other words, can they consent to a certain number of strokes in advance without being given the chance to stop the whole thing during the spanking. I’m of the opinion that, talking about a job for a company, the answer must be no!

Again, we are not talking about a private BDSM-session, in which a bottom wants to make a special experience by playing without a safeword. We are talking about the production of commercial spanking porn. In this context the only reason for not using a safeword would be to protect the producer from not being able to use a scene because the girl decided to quit. And to my mind, the safety and the freedom of choice of the employee in this case is more important than the business interests of the company. I’m of the opinion that a company has to take more care for the safety of their employees than people might do in a similar private situation. This also applies to all the different businesses in the world. For example: When I decide to clean my windows using an old rickety latter that’s my free choice. But a window cleaning company using the same method could be sued for not providing their employees with safe equipment.

But, how have the practises of Mood/EP really been? When Ludwig worked for them, he was told that they didn’t have any safewords. Instead, they had a nurse looking after the girls’ condition and stopping a scene if necessary. From my point of view, this is morally objectionable, because the nurse can’t really see the mental state of a girl she doesn’t know and therefore the girls must have a chance to stop the scene.

In practice, of course, the girls did have the chance to stop a scene, as Ludwig experienced. They just had to talk to the producer out of character and the scene was interrupted. That happened several times during Ludwig’s shoot. No moral objections, then? I don’t think so. After having done a Mood-style caning myself I can tell you that for me it was
a very extreme situation, both physically and mentally. Short message to all the guys out there rambling about Mood/EP not being extreme because there are even more extreme films out there: Please, go to the dominatrix next door and try it yourself before shouting your mouth off! The same applies of course to all those who condemn Mood/EP without having a clue what they are talking about.

I am kinky and I had been spanked before (I even had tasted a few
equally hard strokes before), but 50 very hard strokes is something completely different. I wasn’t able to predict my reactions and mindset, and I guess that the reactions and mindset can also differ very much at different times. The situation was so demanding that I wasn’t able to communicate my physical and mental status in a differentiated manner, like I can under normal circumstances. That’s why I am of the opinion that there must be a very clear and very easy to remember safeword to protect the models.

Maybe 99 per cent of them won’t need it because they are very well capable of calling the name of the director when they need a break. But, again, I have moral objections against low safety standards, especially in an environment where the models make themselves that vulnerable. There even was one situation during Ludwig’s shoot which proves my point of view: Tammy, the second girl he was caning, asked for a break several times by starting a discussion with the director. A few strokes before the caning was over she shouted “Stop!" again. This time she didn’t directly start a discussion out of character, though. She remained silent afterwards. It wasn't clear that she really wanted to interrupt the scene. So, the assistant director gave Ludwig a sign to continue, and he gave Tammy the last couple of strokes.

We discussed that topic a long time ago and I told Ludwig that to my mind it wasn’t okay to continue in that unclear situation. He agreed and also wrote about the change in his point of view in several comments already. Obviously, the girl was alright afterwards. She did a second movie with Mood a short time later. But still, I have moral objections against company practises that lead to such borderline situations.

The current accusations are very different from Ludwig’s experiences. The woman says that she hadn’t been informed accurately of what was laying ahead of her and that a safeword which both sides explicitly agreed upon was ignored. I don’t know the Hungarian laws, but I’m quite sure that if those accusations are true, it isn’t only a moral but also definitely a legal issue. The thing is, however, that although I’m very critical about Mood/EP, it doesn’t seem to be very realistic. As I’ve written above there have been borderline situations which I already find morally objectionable, but there has been a chance to get a break or to quit (one of the girls at Ludwig’s shoot quit after only a few strokes). Well, according to
Pedro’s mail the scene as well as an interview that was made beforehand are on tape, so it should be quite easy to reveal the truth!


I already mentioned the models’ safety in the context of safewords. There are more aspects belonging into that category: Cleanliness, medical care and the risk of permanent harm. From Ludwig’s report about his shoot it seems that concerning the first two points Mood has been exemplary. Canes weren’t allowed to lie on the floor because that would have increased the risks of one of the models getting an infection. And there was the nurse who looked after the girls and applied medical aftercare when a scene was over.

But concerning the risk of permanent bodily harm I have objections against Mood’s practises. First of all, the insecurity and inaccuracy of some of their tops caused a higher risk of strokes hitting delicate spots like the kidneys. That was also one of Ludwig’s strongest critical arguments concerning Mood’s practises. And they did severe whippings on the lower back and things like that, which to my mind caused unacceptable risks for the models. These safety issues in combination with the safeword discussion are the reasons why I have been of the opinion that Mood/EP shouldn’t be allowed to continue to produce movies the way they did.

In the current accusations these safety issues don’t seem to be mentioned. We’ll have to see how far these things are used in the trial in favour or against Mood/EP. It seems that the presence of a nurse has already been mentioned negatively: "They were so brutal, they even needed a nurse." I definitely have a completely different view on that point, for me it is one of the things that speak for Mood/EP.

Legal situation in Hungary:

I have to admit that I don’t know the legal situation concerning the porn production in Hungary. Is producing severe spanking porn legal in Hungary? I think the trial will give us an answer to that question. I don’t want to speculate on that point without the knowledge that would be necessary for that discussion.

My personal conclusions:

Given my personal taste and thoughts about Mood/EP and the moral issues I have with their work, I should be one of the happiest persons in the world now that they seem to be history. However, I am not! I would have been very glad if someone had checked their practises and given them additional requirements in order to increase the models’ safety and reduce the risk of one of the girls suffering harm. Furthermore, I had hoped that they would have reduced the severity of their movies at least a bit in the future (to the severity level they had
a few years ago). My biggest aesthetic issue was that the beatings had become constantly more severe (leading to heavier, bloodier and longer lasting marks) without rewarding the higher suffering of the girls by putting more effort into producing a high quality product concerning the shoot of the action scenes and the surrounding story. But, as I already said, that is just personal taste. Due to the moral and especially safety aspects discussed above I didn’t approve of Mood’s current practises and was of the opinion that they shouldn’t be allowed to go on like that. But had I been sure that the models’ safety was intensely taken care of, then I would have preferred Mood/EP to exist as long as they would have liked to.

The main reason I’m not happy now is that it seems to me that this isn’t about objectively inspecting Mood/EP’s practises as producers of spanking porn, like did they do enough for the safety of their employees, did they give them the free choice to quit whenever they wanted and so on. The accusations, the TV-team accompanying the SWAT team, the contradictory records, Pedro’s mails – it all doesn’t really fit. If the accusations are true then to my mind it is completely okay that Mood/EP are history. But somehow I’ve got the feeling that Mood/EP have already been found guilty even before the evidence is secured and checked. So, I’m sitting here with a very bad gut feeling and some personal and some moral issues, this time against how the case "Mood/EP" is dealt with…

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Klingons Do Not Faint!

In the last edition of Kaelah’s Corner I wrote about the experiment and the severe fifty strokes caning I received from Ludwig. Today you get the solution of the little riddle about how the scene really unfolded and the proof that it has really happened in form of a picture of the marks it produced on my rear end (well, of course, this is only a proof for those among you who aren’t conspiracy theorists and believe that we just painted the marks… ;-) ).

Thanks a lot for all the guessing about the different scenarios I described and for all the comments on the topic of bravery. It was great to get so much interesting input from some regular commenters and also from so many anonymous writers! Since there were different anonymous comments I’m going to add numbers to my reply in order to distinguish you guys. Just one little remark on the commenting options: You can also choose Name/URL as your identity and then just give yourself a random name (no URL necessary!), if you like. That makes it a bit easier for me to refer to your comments and it also makes it easier for you in case you want to write a follow-up comment later…

Now, to the solution of the riddle: There was one vote for Story A (frants), one vote for Story B (Peter8862) and three votes for Story D (Anonymous No. 2, catherine and Miss !). And, indeed, the majority was right! Obviously, my style of writing gave it away… But, as I said, the other four stories also contained a part of the real events or my mindset, so I would like to tell you a bit about that today.

Story A was the scenario Ludwig and I would have predicted. I have a low blood pressure. In combination with my usual teeth-clenching reactions, this can lead to a low breathing rate and dizziness. So, when Ludwig and I talked about the scene beforehand, we agreed that he would remind me to breathe in case I should forget about it. And he would have stopped the scene if necessary because of me being dizzy and not able to realise that I needed a break or not being able to communicate it. Miss ! ruled out Story A, remarking: “I imagine Ludwig to be the type who would dish out at least a few additional strokes for miscounting.” Well, I had verified all the hypothetical reactions I’ve written for Ludwig by talking the situations through with him. You’re absolutely right that Ludwig would usually dish out some extra strokes for miscounting. But in that very special situation, knowing that I already was way beyond my normal limits, he really wouldn’t have done that! I just hope that I don’t destroy his sadistic reputation by telling you this… ;-)

Story B is about one of the biggest fears I had before and during the scene: Injuring my body in a way that went too far for me. Ludwig and I had talked about that very openly, and after thinking a lot about the pros and cons of doing the scene, I had decided to take the risk. But the fear was still there during the scene and the scene was so mentally and physically challenging that I wouldn’t have been able to tell Ludwig in my usual differentiated manner about my mental state at that point. So, in case the fears really had taken over, the scene might have turned out as described in Story B. Instead, the fears were still there, but they didn’t go out of control. When Ludwig looked at the marks during the break and told me that there wasn’t any blood (there were some bloody spots), I simply told him that I didn’t want to know about it at that point. ;-) I had made my decision beforehand and I knew that we would take care about the marks as soon as the scene was over. We took great care about all the possible health aspects and knowing that reduced my fears. We disinfected the cane and the marks, cooled my rear end with icepacks, bandaged the wounds and put arnica ointment on the marks at least twice a day during the following weeks. As a result, there were nearly no marks left after just two weeks! These marks seem to be a bit longer lasting, though. Today, there are still some spots where the skin is slightly differently coloured. But I hope that these traces will be completely gone in a few months, too.

Story C referred to something experienced spanking models like Niki Flynn had written; that it might be safer for a girl to be tied down during a hard scene, so that she couldn’t be accidentally injured by making some unexpected movement. And in the edgy spanking films some of the models are flinching a lot, so this seems to be a quite common reaction. I didn’t want the restraints because I wanted to show optically that I was taking the caning voluntarily. But I found out during the scene that pressing my feet against the whipping bench helped a lot to deal with the pain. So, I guess, restraints might help in a similar way. However, Ludwig and I prefer to use them as decorative elements during a scene, and believe me, I can imagine a lot of situations where I would find being tied down really hot! ;-)

Story E was ruled out by Anonymous No. 2 who said: “I also don't think Story E fits because your reaction by even the second stroke seems too strong. You've already taken 10 full force strokes in An Early Christmas Present and you handled them pretty well.“ Actually, although I started hyperventilating only after stroke number five, I already was completely panicked after the second stroke! While I don’t have many problems to take some very hard cane strokes after a gradual build-up, a cold caning is something completely different! It always makes me panic, I often start crying and I haven’t found a way to deal properly with a cold, hard spanking, yet. I guess the personal limits and what is easy or difficult to take varies very much from person to person (and from day to day).

Frants remarked that the caning was very fast and didn’t leave me much time to recover between the strokes. I didn’t think about that before, but you’re absolutely right! There was almost no time to adapt to the pain or to regain my composure, once it was lost. And like I wrote in Story E, I had to deal with so many things simultaneously that it was almost too much. First of all, I had to deal with the pain. Then I tried to stay in a certain position, where the bones at my rear end weren’t stuck out too much, in order not to cause any unnecessary injuries. In addition to that I wanted to count correctly and loud and to control my reactions. And I tried to suppress my fears, especially when I started feeling dizzy and my hands, arms and feet got numb. That’s why today I’m convinced more than ever that having an easy safeword is very important when doing such a hard scene. With all these things on my mind I was very glad to know that a simple “Stop!” would have ended the scene any time I needed a break! Concerning the screaming: Maybe that would have been a good way of releasing the pressure? Like in a roller coaster, you know?!

Story D, the real scene… Well, I really hated hyperventilating and I was quite shocked about it, because I had never been in such a situation and didn’t know what to do. I even thought that I needed the deep breathing and didn’t know that I would have had to reduce the oxygen. I felt very awful during the break because I was of the opinion that I had screwed the scene up with my unsexy reactions. Ludwig tried to cheer me up by telling me that he had seen a similar reaction in Wild Party 2. I (being very frustrated) just answered (with an ironical undertone): “I’m sure it was the most erotic scene of the movie, right?!” Ludwig, honest as he always is, replied: “No, but it was interesting.” Somehow this didn’t cheer me up! Any girl who wants to be interesting in an erotic scene??? ;-) However, what Ludwig meant was that it was an unusual reaction and therefore more interesting and erotic than the loud screaming of many girls. But there was a very defiant girl in that movie, whose reactions Ludwig liked even more…

Later, Ludwig asked me indeed two times whether I wanted to continue with the second part. He asked out of care, of course, but being as frustrated as I was at that point, I didn’t see it like that. I felt like a wimp, anyway. Maybe I was also a bit angry because he didn’t forget to add: “I told you that we should’ve done only thirty strokes, didn’t I?!” ;-) Well, at least the second part of the caning really was like I had hoped. And that even though my self-confidence was at a really low level and I was scared like hell when we started again. As I said, I can deal much better with a caning once I’m warmed up. My first reaction after it was all over really came from the bottom of my heart: “Yes, thanks, that part was how I wanted it to be!” I had to hold myself back not to make a fist or some other sign of victory… :-)

So much for the scene, I will tell you more about the experiment as a whole in a few months. But I would like to close today’s post with a little anecdote that can be seen as a kind of aftermath of that hard session.

There was a very interesting discussion about accepting one’s different reactions after my last post, mainly driven by Indy, Miss ! and Zille. In that discussion I wrote about my hope to become more relaxed concerning different reactions during a spanking, now that I’ve proven that I can do a really severe scene without quitting. And I said that I would like to do a lighter, caring scene where I could let myself fall.

That happened a few days ago! I was in the mood for crying, anyway, being sad and stressed, when Ludwig decided to give me a spanking. I had made some smart-ass remark that day, so he started with a few full-force strokes with a very dreaded flogger. I already cried after the very first stroke because I really couldn’t stand the pain that day and I also was in the mood for it. After the very hard flogger-strokes Ludwig went on trying out some switches I had cut earlier. Testing how different switches felt like had been my idea. The strokes weren’t too hard, but given my condition of that day I was again at my limit, although I didn’t cry very much during that part of the scene. Then, finally, we ended the session with an OTK stress relief spanking. I cried even harder than after the flogger during the breaks between the sets of strokes. This time not because of the pain, but just because I wanted to release my sadness. I felt very safe being that close to Ludwig. We were constantly communicating, he caressed me and asked me what I needed. I knew that he could deal with my reactions and that I could just let go.

Once the thought occurred that I wouldn’t be able to take a fifty strokes severe caning that day. Then I thought: But you have already proven that you can take it. Today it is time for something completely different and that’s absolutely okay! So, I can now definitely say that having done that hard scene has at least one important positive outcome! Although I’m still having problems with severe spanking films and still feel threatened by the models whose reactions might attract my boyfriend more than mine, it at least enabled me to enjoy different scenarios and reactions than before. The feeling of having to prove something has faded a bit…

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Ritual Chamber

(Finally, the third, last, and longest part of the story of Kaelah's first ever spanking. You can read the first two parts here and here. My text is in normal format, Kaelah's comments are in bold text in square brackets.)

I was the first to enter the room we had prepared for the initiation ritual. While I made sure that all the props were in their place, Kaelah would wait outside for a few more minutes. She was wearing her black Tai Chi suit now and holding a jug of hot water for the opening tea ceremony. Once I had checked everything out, I would call her inside and we would perform the ceremony together, followed by the actual spanking.

[It was my idea that the master should call the aspirant inside once everything was ready. Like starting the ceremony at sunset, this was not only supposed to give the ritual a beautiful frame, it would also give me enough time to feel and memorize that very special day. In the afternoon, when I had that anxiety-attack, I wasn’t sure any more whether this was a good idea. I was afraid that I might panic again if I had to wait outside the chamber for too long. But, much to my own surprise, I was really able to use the time while I was waiting in the anteroom to take that special moment in and to prepare myself for the things to come.]

While my eyes wandered across the ritual chamber, I wondered once again how many other crazed geeks existed who put a similar amount of time and effort into a kinky first time. Some undoubtedly did, but probably not many. I was proud of that, and I wasn't even being more immodest than usual, because most of the interior decoration had been Kaelah's work, not mine. In the middle of the room, we had a ring of 24 candles on the floor. Kaelah had spent a good hour or so, with a metering rule, making sure that they formed an exact circle. [Just like it is described in chapter 3.1 of the article on the Rite of Span’qIng: “In the middle of the chamber, there is a ritual circle consisting of 24 candles. It has a diameter of 2.4 meters. […] The circle must be built by the young Klingon warrior under the supervision of the Master of Ceremonies.” Did anyone really think I had written that detailed description on the ceremony and the duties of both, aspirant and master, just for fun??? Oh, and have I already mentioned that I HATE inaccuracy?]

This ceremonial circle did not just make for a great-looking set piece, it also served as an important visible border, marking the transition between the pre-banter and the initiation itself. When Kaelah stepped inside, she would enter the phase of the ritual thought up entirely by me - where the "arms master" took the lead and she didn't know exactly what was coming.

Inside the circle, there was a sofa stool where the action would take place, suitable for the OTK position and for bending over it. Outside the circle, to the left and right, there were two torches which we would light during the opening and closing ceremonies - not during the spanking itself, so as to not run out of oxygen. There was a full-body mirror on one side of the room, my idea, I thought it would add a nice touch. Finally, on the walls all around us, we had hung inscriptions naming the set of virtues which described the relationship between the arms master and his student and which the student was supposed to attain. The virtues came in four pairs: honesty and openness, honour and respect, trust and responsibility, bravery and pain (or rather, the tolerance of pain).

[The meaning of the ritual words in the context of the ceremony is also explained in the article on the Rite of Span’qIng. However, those words are still important for Ludwig and me today – as cornerstones for our relationship as mates. Some of you might have realised that they were all part of my poem about living as mates...]

Kaelah had written the virtues down in three languages: Klingon, German and English. As Kaelah said, the English translation was there because, if all went well, I might want to write about our scene on the blog and document it with some pictures as well. Which answered the question I would have had, whether she would be comfortable about sharing her story with the readers! [I always had that exhibitionistic streak, obviously… Oh, and in case someone is asking: Yes, I really wrote down the virtues kneeling on a meditation stool and using traditional ink brushes, as required according to the rules of the ritual!]

The candles were already burning, but I still had to light the torches. It took a while until the damn things had properly burst into flames. [Yes, I could hear that from outside the chamber… ;-) ] I then sat down at the table for the tea ceremony. Like the rest of our ritual chamber, it had been decorated in an austere yet festive manner: a candle in the middle, a little stove for the tea, two mugs, two glass plates and two pairs of chopsticks. The plates and the chopsticks were for the Japanese bean paste, called Youkan, that went with the tea ceremony. [Actually, it was supposed to be a Klingon blood bean paste. Have you ever tried to buy Klingon blood beans in a German supermarket? Well, thanks to the influence the Klingon culture had on Japan, I was able to substitute the blood beans with Japanese Azuki bean paste. So, I made Japanese Youkan out of the bean paste for the first time in my life that afternoon (that was one of the few things I didn’t try beforehand), and it really worked!] Last but not least, there was a singing bowl which we would use numerous times during the upcoming ritual. I struck it with the accompanying wooden mallet, signalling to Kaelah that everything was ready and that she should come inside.

Kaelah entered the room, carrying the jug of hot water, closed the door behind her and placed herself opposite me at the table. We were sitting on wooden kneelers, pretty much on the floor. Kaelah proceeded to pour the tea, serving me first. The tea ceremony immediately established our roles as the arms master and the student, but it was also a nice way to have an informal chat right before the actual initiation. I asked Kaelah how she felt now and she replied that she felt okay - calmer and less nervous, in fact, than she would have expected. Meanwhile, we drank the tea and ate the Youkan. The bean paste didn't taste nearly as horrible as Kaelah had described it to me. Actually, I found it rather tasty in its way.

Kaelah was dismayed about the tea rose in my mug not opening properly when the water was poured, despite the fact that she had practiced that part of the ceremony beforehand, just like everything else. I told her not to beat herself up about it - a minor glitch, not that important. She's still annoyed about that tea rose, though. [As I said, I HATE inaccuracy. And of course I had tried out the tea flowers beforehand (how to place them in the mug, how to pour in the water without turning them around…). And then that damn little thing just didn’t open as it was supposed to. Ludwig indeed was very generous about the tea rose. When he realised that I was still annoyed about it a few weeks later, he even helped me to overcome my self-reproach by spanking me for my little faux pas. Ain’t I a lucky girl?]

At the end of the opening ceremony, Kaelah struck the singing bowl, we got up, extinguished the torches and began the initiation proper. To begin with, I instructed her to kneel on the floor and face herself in the mirror. I had intended the full-body mirror for this particular moment, right before the spanking. I thought it would be a nice little touch, heightening the tension and providing some self-reflection, literally as well as figuratively. "Look at yourself" I told Kaelah. "Don't think ahead to what we are going to do, just look at yourself now, and think about how you feel and who you are." While she did so, I stepped inside the ceremonial circle and fetched my instruments, the paddle and the cane. So far, they had been lying behind the sofa stool, somewhat hidden. I now draped them on the stool.

[I should add that the sofa stool upon which Ludwig draped the paddle and the canes – yes, there were two of them - was right in my field of vision when I looked into the mirror! As you might be able to imagine, that made it slightly difficult to just focus on the here and now and not to think about what was lying ahead of me…]

I then asked Kaelah to stand up and come to me inside the circle. While she got up, she accidentally scraped her knee against the mirror with a loud clang - a result of the limited space inside the room, and her own nervousness. Well, I thought to myself, it's good to see that she's getting a little jumpy! [I didn’t just knock my knee against the mirror. Thanks to the small amount of space, I also knocked over one of the candles with my foot. When I saw the mess, I was completely unsure what to do. I would have liked to re-enlighten it to bring the ceremony circle into perfect order again. But the wax was still liquid and it would have taken some time. I had read Ludwig’s accounts of his sessions with Josephine carefully and was afraid, that he would misinterpret my attempt to clean up the mess as disobedience or an attempt to gain time. So I just put the candle back where it belonged and got up as quickly as possible. Then I took off my shoes and put them on the ground outside the circle with the toe-cap pointing to the wall. Now it was really going to happen – I would hand over all control to Ludwig and I would receive my first-ever spanking! I took a deep breath and stepped into the circle fully aware of the very special weight of this specific moment.]

Once she was with me, I showed Kaelah the implements and explained the upcoming sequence to her - we would start with a traditional hand spanking, followed by the paddle, followed by the cane. We would take a short break after each segment and proceed to the next one when, and if, she felt ready. Of course, Kaelah could opt out if she did not want to continue, and she could also call it quits at any time during one of the segments by simply asking me to stop.

[It was only later that I realised we hadn’t made up a safeword! The setting of the ceremony didn’t require one; it was a consensual scenario and the aspirant was supposed to take the spanking without complaints. So it was clear that I wouldn’t use phrases like “Please stop.” if I didn’t really mean it. Interestingly, it stayed like that until today: Ludwig and I still haven’t got an explicit safeword. And we didn’t need one so far. Should I ever need Ludwig to stop in a scene where he might interpret “stop” as a phrase in character, I guess I would just say “safeword”, though. I think that would be absolutely clear. But it was great that the setting of our first play didn’t require me to think about any codes or safewords. I just hoped that I wouldn’t have to ask Ludwig to stop (at least not too soon)…]

As one last buildup step before we got started, though, we performed a trust fall together. [Due to the description of the ritual, performing the trust fall wasn’t mandatory. I didn’t know, whether Ludwig would include my idea. He decided to ask me, if I would like to do it before we started with the spanking. And I told him that I wanted to try it.] A trust fall, as some of you will know from motivational workshops or similar events, is when you deliberately let yourself fall over backwards into the arms of another person, relying on that person to catch you. Kaelah had tried it years ago while she was in a youth group and was eager to give it another go ever since. We both thought that it would make for an interesting and fitting addition to our kinky ritual, so we incorporated it.

[The trust fall wasn’t a problem for me when I was a teenager. But I knew that many adults aren’t able to let themselves fall into someone’s arms without losing their body tension and trying to protect themselves. I had tried to exercise the motion sequence by letting myself fall onto my bed. (Yes, I know that I am a control freak!) But the bed has a wooden frame and I was afraid of hitting my head. So, this didn’t really work and I still wasn’t sure whether I would be able to keep my body tension. When Ludwig told me to let myself fall, I spread my arms, tried to make my whole body as stiff as a board and did as I was told…]

In the center of the room, facing the inscription that read "Trust", Kaelah let herself fall over. I caught her, then we did it a second time. "Do you trust me?" I asked her. "Yes" she replied quietly. [I was very glad when I realised that I could still do the trust fall without trying to keep control. It was a wonderful feeling to be caught by Ludwig. I had never been afraid that he would let me fall, I just wasn’t sure whether I could control my fear. Now I was very glad that I had made the decision to give it a try.]

I ordered Kaelah to get out of her Tai Chi suit, remove both the top and the trousers. [I had expected a kind of gradual build-up (I know, I should have known better…) and was quite unprepared when Ludwig gave me the order to remove the whole suit. But then I thought: Okay, then we’ll do it nearly completely right now, so I don’t have to worry about what is going to come concerning the degree of nakedness.] While she remained in the circle, I put the discarded clothing in a corner of the room. "You don't need that anymore for the time being" I commented. Kaelah was wearing red underwear, and I quietly wondered for a moment if she always wore it underneath her suit during Tai Chi training. [Nope!]

After I sat down on the sofa stool, I instructed Kaelah to face the wall, away from me, so that I could look at her from behind. "Right! Time to get started" I said, clapping my hands in anticipation. "You are going to pull your knickers down now." [Now it was clear, there was DEFINITELY no big build-up concerning the degree of nakedness!] "You are going to do it slowly and consciously." With a smile, I added: "And as of now, you are allowed to think ahead to what we are going to do..." After a moment of hesitation [You told me to do it slowly!], Kaelah pulled down her knickers, revealing her bottom to me for the first time. It was about as well-shaped and spankable as I had imagined it to be - which is to say, pretty damn spankable indeed.

[It was the first time I had undressed myself that way in front of a man! The only thing I had been afraid of was that Ludwig might not like my bottom and legs because of the cellulites I have (like many women). So I had told him about it beforehand. Actually, I had talked about everything that made me feel insecure, like the question of being or not being shaved and so on. Having talked about all those things openly made me feel less insecure when I undressed in front of Ludwig. In fact, I realised that I really trusted him and that therefore besides of all the nervousness involved it felt okay to pull down my knickers and stand in front of him with nothing but my bra on.]

Kaelah went over my knee for the first segment, the most classical of all positions. She placed her hands and elbows on the sofa stool, her feet touched the floor, her legs formed a straight line and her bottom was over my lap and slightly up in the air. I gave her the first smack. “That was a light one” I commented. A second smack, more forceful. “That was medium.” The third one. “That one was hard!” Then I settled into a steady rhythm, towards the lighter end of the spectrum. After some 30 seconds, I stopped and asked Kaelah how she was doing. “I'm still alive!” she giggled. I went on and spanked her for another two or three minutes, increasing the speed and the severity at the end. Kaelah would sometimes squirm lightly, but she made no sound at all. Teeth-clenching reactions. It was the kind I liked best, and knowing Kaelah as well as I did by then, it was exactly what I had expected from her.

[I was glad that you had warned me about handspankings. “It doesn’t look as hard as some spankings with implements, but it can be quite painful”, you told me. And you were right! But I was glad that I could take it without making too much fuss. At least you didn’t have to quit during the very first part, I thought afterwards. I didn’t think very much whether I liked being spanked at that time. I just realised that the feeling was okay, it was painful, but not over the top.]

We made our scheduled break after the hand spanking. Kaelah put her knickers and the top of her Tai Chi suit back on. Then she sat down on the floor while I sat on the sofa stool, and we chatted a bit about the scene so far – how she had found it, whether or not the sensations were similar to what she had imagined. [The breaks and the talk between the segments were important elements, especially since this was my first spanking experience. They gave me time to process all the new impressions, and they made me feel cared for.]

When Kaelah was ready, we continued. She removed the suit top again and I instructed her to kneel on the sofa stool on all fours. “Let's up the ante a little, as far as loss of control is concerned” I said gleefully. “This time, I'm going to pull down your knickers myself.” [Actually, this was the most erotic part of the experience for me! I felt absolutely safe, because you told me what was about to happen. But we had talked about my fear about loss of control before and your words also told me that you were going to challenge my limits a bit. That heightened the anticipation and pushed very special buttons. And I realised that I loved (and still do!) the quadruped position!]

I pulled down Kaelah's knickers, as announced, and started spanking her with the leather paddle. Again, I did a few “test smacks” before settling into a rhythm. It got quite hard towards the end and I could see that Kaelah's spanking-virginal bottom was beginning to turn a deep shade of red. I didn't go overboard in terms of severity, but Kaelah had made it clear before her initiation that she wanted to experience a real, proper, no-nonsense thrashing, and since her reactions so far confirmed to me that she could handle it, I was happy to oblige. There was more squirming, but still barely a sound of pain. I made her count the last dozen swats with the paddle aloud.

[The pain the leather paddle produced was quite similar to how the handspanking felt. You also told me about that when you started the spanking. And you added that the paddle had the great advantage that the spanking didn’t hurt your hand. Poor boy! :-) Honestly, the spanking with the leather paddle seemed to be the less interesting part of the session for me, when I thought about it in advance. But it turned out that I liked the paddle and the pain it produced very much indeed! And I was glad when I found out that I was able to count the strokes during a spanking. Yes, I had wondered beforehand, whether I would be able to focus on counting and whether I would be able to speak in a clear voice during a spanking. You don’t know it when you’re a newbie and haven’t got an idea how it feels like!]

During our second break, I had to bring the two extinguished torches out of the room. There was still a fair bit of smoke coming from them and it was becoming an annoyance. [I was sitting on the floor and suddenly thought: Am I a bit dizzy from the spanking? Everything looks a bit foggy… But then I realised that the torches weren’t fully extinguished and asked you to bring them outside for safety reasons.] “Spanking in dense fog, that is new for me as well...” I muttered. The break took longer than the first one, anyway, because Kaelah asked for more time to mentally prepare herself for the dreaded cane. However, there was never any doubt that she wanted to continue. [I needed a moment to prepare myself, but I didn’t want to wait too long, because I was afraid I might back out then. As I already mentioned I wasn’t sure whether I could take a single stroke (the stories about the cane sounded so horrible!) and I was happy that I had at least gone through part one and two…]

For the caning, I wanted to up the ante even more. “Since this is the grand finale, you are going to take everything off now” I told Kaelah. “Understood?” She nodded. So, after removing her bra and knickers as instructed, she stood before me in her full naked glory. I ordered her to stand up straight and put her hands behind her head. [You also told me to spread my legs a bit!] “You are very beautiful” I said while I took a good long look at her, first from behind, then from the front. After a brief pause, I stepped up to Kaelah, touched her upper left arm which she was holding behind her head, and ran my finger down the side of her body, barely missing her left breast. She didn't say anything, but I could tell that it was having an effect. [I was at least quite irritated. I hadn’t expected something like that and was trying to integrate the situation into my mindset. It was a strange mixture. In my mindset I saw it as a kind of obedience test. That fitted to the master / student scenario. But of course standing like that in front of a man who obviously enjoyed it also raised different thoughts…]

“It's a bit different from being in the sauna, isn't it?” I remarked casually, referring to something Kaelah had said during our first talk, when I asked her if she would have any objections against being naked. Kaelah suppressed a grin. “Yes, a little” she said quietly. [Since I thought of the whole thing as a kind of test, I tried to be really honest with my answer, like we had agreed beforehand. So, I needed a few seconds to think about the question. It’s not completely different, I thought, because being naked is something natural and I feel safe with Ludwig and not very ashamed, almost like being naked in the sauna. But, on the other hand, this was an erotic situation and being naked was a part of that erotic experience, so it somehow was different. And, of course, I usually don’t stand around in a position like that in the sauna! ;-)]

After this brief (and, admittedly, self-indulgent) foreplay, Kaelah bent over the sofa stool for the final segment of her initiation. I announced that I was going to give her four light strokes with the cane, as a first taste, followed by four harder ones. Then, we would take it from there. “Alright?” Kaelah nodded vigorously. I assumed my stance and gave her the first stroke. Kaelah reacted with a slight flinch, but didn't make a sound. [I had expected the pain of the cane to be much worse than the pain the hand and the leather paddle had produced. But since I was warmed up nicely by that point and the stroke was a light one, the pain wasn't nearly as bad as in my imagination. I was a bit stunned and tried to understand what was going on…]

Kaelah did not count the stroke. I waited for a couple of seconds: “Well, that one didn’t count…” “Am I supposed to count already?” asked Kaelah. “Indeed you are” I replied. That trick worked every time. [I assumed that it must have been a slight mistake on your behalf, confusing Klingons with Betazoids. Since I didn’t have to count the strokes from the very beginning during the first and second part of the session and since you didn’t mention anything about it when the third part started, you obviously must have assumed that I had the ability to read your mind… May I add that today, my very first question at the beginning of a spanking usually is: “Do I have to count?”]

So, we started again. Four light cane strokes, then four harder ones. Kaelah was squirming visibly after each one, sometimes throwing her head back a little, but she was still remarkably composed. The latter strokes produced some visible lines on her bottom, over the reddening from the paddle. After inspecting my handiwork, I asked: “So... How many of those do you think you need to feel properly initiated?” Kaelah thought about it for a moment. “Twelve more...?” she suggested tentatively. [I was thinking very hard what could have been the right answer for that question. I didn’t want to look like a wimp, but I didn’t want to overdo it, either, since I didn’t know how much the pain might accumulate after a certain number of strokes. So, I thought that twelve would be an acceptable, round number…] I was silent. [And I started feeling like a wimp!] After a few seconds had passed, Kaelah made another stab: “Was that too little?” I nodded: “Tell you what, let's do sixteen more. That adds up to twenty-four. Two dozen, nice round number, one stroke for each candle on the floor...”

Kaelah was fine with that. I gave her the sixteen, and fairly hard ones at that – after all, I wanted her to feel “properly initiated” afterwards, as promised. Kaelah's squirming got wilder, and I thought that I could hear the occasional gasp of pain, but maybe that was wishful thinking on my part. What a brave girl! Gasps or no gasps, the final caning did produce some nice, vivid welts, and I was happy about that. I certainly wouldn't have to worry that I hadn't done my job right. As for Kaelah, she was most impressive. Which, again, was what I had expected all along.

[It became harder to deal with the strokes when you increased the force. But it was still bearable. I was very happy that I made it through the whole set of strokes without having to quit. And I was more careful at the end of the spanking! Since I had read in your accounts on your sessions with Josephine that you loved to dish out some extra-strokes when a spankee stood up without your permission after a spanking, I obediently waited until you told me to get up. Giving you one excuse for adding more strokes was really enough for the day! ;-)]

When it was all over, I inspected the stripes, then took Kaelah to the mirror so that she could take a look at them herself. [I have to admit that I was quite shocked (not really in a negative way!) when I saw the marks. They told me that the spanking really hadn’t been too soft and that I could be happy with the way I had taken it.] Finally, just like I had done immediately before the ritual, I instructed Kaelah to kneel on the floor and look at herself in the mirror. “Look at yourself now” I said. “Think about how you feel now, and who you are now...”

[I don’t know what I really thought when I was kneeling in front of the mirror. During the whole session, the most interesting development was that I was getting more and more calm and happy with every new step I had successfully taken. That is still a quite typical reaction for me today, although I have experienced a greater variety of different mindsets and reactions by now. What I remember is that I knocked my knee on the mirror again, when I was finally told to stand up…]

I left her alone with her thoughts for a moment. Then she got into her Tai Chi suit again and we sat down on the sofa stool together, talking about how she had found the scene – and how she felt, now that the Big Event had finally happened. [You asked me whether I wanted to start with the second tea ceremony right away or whether I would like to sit on the sofa stool with you for a moment. I realised how much I needed the close contact with you now and decided for the sofa stool. As much as I love rituals, a spanking session without some cuddling (at least at the end) is worth only half as much!] Afterwards, we held the second tea ceremony, which was more informal than the first one, but just as festive.

We took some photographs of Kaelah's bottom while the marks were still fresh and before I put some arnica on them. Then we packed everything up, extinguished the candles and emerged from the ritual chamber. Less than an hour had passed since we entered it, but of course, it seemed much longer. The sun had just disappeared behind the horizon. We spent the rest of the evening talking and cuddling on the sofa in Kaelah's living room. [Yes, the evening was wonderful. And we didn’t only talk and cuddle, I also received my very first erotic kiss on that evening, but that is a different and more private (yes, I really see it like that after all we have just written down here) story! :-)]

It had been an extraordinary day from start to finish, one of the best I could remember. I was so glad that Kaelah had made her big plunge, successfully, that it had gone so well, and that she had chosen me as the one to guide her through it. It was still too good to be true. This gift of trust was awe-inspiring in itself, something I had always dreamed about. The beautiful, inventive setting we then put together and the fact that it all worked out so well when the day came was almost beyond belief. It was, without a doubt, the most special and memorable kinky experience I had ever had. It still is to this day. [It’s the same from my point of view, although we’ve had many more fantastic play sessions by now! But the first time remains something very special and it was as good as even a perfectionist like me could have imagined when asked for the best possible experience when starting to live out one’s kink. And this was just the beginning of a great and crazy journey for two! :-)]

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some Questions Answered by Pedro

Originally, I was going to write down some personal thoughts about the recent Mood Pictures raid today. However, I have by now received a second email from Pedro, where he answers some questions I sent him and goes into more detail about the whole affair. So, instead of giving you my second-hand guessings about what I believe happened, I'm giving you Pedro's first-hand account of what, according to him, did (and didn't) happen.

Needless to say, I can't vouch for the truthfulness of Pedro's version of events, just as I can't vouch for the truthfulness of the police version - I may have my suspicions based on my own past experiences with Mood and plain common sense, but ultimately, I don't know what took place at that recent shoot, because I wasn't there! I am simply reprinting Pedro's answers here, verbatim and without comment, so that people can form their own opinions. Regardless of what ultimately comes out of this whole story, I believe it is only fair that Mood Pictures should get to state their own side of it, like anyone accused of wrong-doing. Since the mainstream press obviously isn't doing much balanced reporting (it rarely does about the subject of BDSM videos), I think we kinky bloggers should at least try to do better.

(Speaking of the mainstream press, I also found this article on the English website of the Budapest Times, thanks to Greg. It is shorter than the Hungarian ones translated so far, and it doesn't really say anything new, but at least is is an original, English-language source.)

Now for Pedro's email. Obviously, my questions are in italics, his answers are in normal text:

One translation I read says that the woman who went to the police was hired as a domina - not one of the spanked girls! The other translation says that it was one of the spanked girls. Can you tell me which version is correct?

Pedro: Definitely a sub. Please don't handle any articles [in the press as] 100% correct. There were many many lies in them.

For example, they mention strong security which required the SWAT team. Well, we had Popey [Mood's security guard during video shoots]. Extreme looking guy, but very lighthearted inside. They mention that we were keeping the tortured girls in boxes. Well, when they rushed in, we were making photoshots for mood art. One girl was in a box for the photoshooting. And the most important: The girl, who went to the police, did a very severe scene. But in the last 10 minutes of the scene she was not even tied. She was tied in the beginning of the scene, but shortly [afterwards] released. So that's another lie, that she was forced because she was tied.

There is also the claim in the article that you lied to the woman about the severity / reality of the spankings - she claims that she was told that it would be light and that she would only "play pain".

Pedro: No. Of course not. We do a pre-shooting and a post-shooting mini interview with each girls. At all pre-shooting interviews (which are always recorded), we always ask whether they are aware of that this will be very painful, and all whippings, canings are real? So we can prove this.

Do you have any idea why this girl at the Elite Pain shoot would go to the police to say things which, according to you, are not true?

Pedro: I can only guess. We were thinking about it quite a lot of time. What we know is that she went to the police only three days after the shooting. What we think is most likely, that she has a boyfriend or a husband. The girl did not tell the guy that she was going to go to an erotic movie shooting. Once the guy discovered the marks, he questioned the girl. The girl may have told that she was forced to do it, so the guy took her to the police. I repeat, I don't know why this happened, but this seems to be the most reasonable for me.

The girl also lied to the police that we have about 10 big security guys who keep the girls inside. Well, if you remember [the shoot last year], the girls was not forced to stay at all. And we have only Popey. So the whole police action was a silly thing. SWAT team for mood pictures??? I would laugh if it did not happen with us. But it did. They handcuffed even the girls. If you see the video [the TV footage], you can see the girls on the floor. Actually, they caused much bigger stress for those girls during the raid than we did to anyone. They even let the girl in the box bounded for about an hour. Normally the girl was going to be taken out by us for the next photo in a minute. These are the heroes of our police (as they mention in the newspaper). Twenty men with guns defeated the whole Mood Pictures staff.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Movie Review: Wheatley Manor

Northern Spanking Films (released in 2009)

Entire Story In Fewer Words Than Are In This Sentence:
They have rules at the manor, and particular ways

Victim Appeal:
In this category, "Wheatley Manor" might very well be the single most outstanding video I have reviewed so far. It stars Amelia-Jane Rutherford, Amy Hunter, Leia-Ann Woods and the now (sadly) retired Niki Flynn - four of their generation's best spanking actresses in the UK. The term actress really applies to each of them, especially here. It is readily apparent that "Wheatley Manor" is a labour of love from everyone involved, that they tried to create something good not just as spanking porn, but as a film. Which is how things ought to be, really, but it's still something you see much too rarely in our industry.

Because this is a labour of love, one needs to mention prominently all the collaborators behind it, not just the "professional victims". The film is directed by Lucy McLean of Northern Spanking, the story was created by Stephen Lewis. Stephen also stars as the main male top, with Henry Higgins making a cameo appearance.

Gratuitous Sadism:
"Wheatley Manor" has a running time of 2 hours 51 minutes (not including the ample bonus material), so it is a truly epic movie. I'm not going to recount every single scene here. Not only would it make the review indigestibly long, it would also give away too much - I don't want to spoil one of the few spanking films where the story and the characters are just as interesting as the action.

Suffice to briefly describe the basic scenario: Amelia-Jane, Niki and Leia are friends who know each other from school. On Leia's suggestion (she has been there before), they sign up for a week at Wheatley Manor. The other two think that they are in for a nice spa holiday, but of course, it turns out to be far more unusual than that. As Miss Hunter, one of the hosts, explains to the three friends on arrival: "You will find that Wheatley Manor has a very... particular regime. It is a lovely house with many activities, and I am sure you will learn a lot about yourselves here." Then she hands them the uniforms which they are supposed to wear at all times.

As one might imagine, Amelia-Jane and Niki are rather freaked out by the prospect. Amelia-Jane, in particular, being the most assertive and willful of the three, wants no part of it initially. However, she decides to stay (simply to prove that she can handle it, one suspects), and in time, she too benefits from the regime at Wheatley Manor. In the words of Professor Lewis, who runs the place: "Our job at Wheatley Manor is to go through your file, look at your personality traits, decide what you need for the benefit of you and your future." Of course, what is needed usually includes corporal punishment.

I'm not even sure if I should do the "body count" which I usually have in this section, recording the exact number of cane strokes or the minutes that an OTK spanking lasted. This is not the point of "Wheatley Manor". Actually, the first spanking in the film takes place off-screen (it is heard, but not seen), and parts of later scenes occur off-screen as well. How does one count that?

But I'll give you a rough overview of the CP action, because you will undoubtedly want to know about that. Needless to say, all three visitors receive hand spankings and bare bottom canings (also canings over their knickers, but let's not go into too much detail for the purpose of this list!). Niki is whacked with a wooden spoon when she is late for dinner. Amelia-Jane gets her bottom flogged by Stephen Lewis. There is some bastinado for Niki and Leia (with Henry Higgins, faceless, as the "Bastinado Host"), and a hand tawsing for Amelia-Jane. The movie has a roughly equal mix of M/F and F/F, the latter with Amy Hunter as the top. Amy also gets a caning from Professor Lewis because she broke one of the house rules herself, and at the end, she is paddled and caned by Nki and Leia in a role reversal. Followed by the very last spanking of "Wheatley Manor", but I am not going to spoil that for you... The severity throughout the film is what I would call medium, and comparable to what you usually see on the Northern Spanking website.

Best Reactions:
As much as I love Niki Flynn as a professional victim and as a friend, she was always too loud for my taste during her CP scenes. Too much over-acting. The same applies, to a lesser degree, to Amelia-Jane Rutherford. On the other hand, I always enjoyed Leia-Ann Wood's teeth-clenching reactions a lot, which are usually subtly angry and subtly lustful at the same time. The contrast is especially striking when you have all of them in one movie. Predictably, then, I like Leia's scenes best here, and Amy Hunter's. Leia receiving a sort of "welcome caning" from Professor Lewis towards the beginning of the film is my favourite scene of all in terms of action and reaction. I'm going to do the "body count" for that one at least: she gets 12 strokes (on-screen, that is, with more being heard from off-screen).

Best Line:
There is a lot of great, witty dialogue in "Wheatley Manor", thanks to Stephen Lewis' wonderful script. However, the line I liked best of all appears very straightforward at first sight, a bit bland, even. When Miss Hunter welcomes the three guests, they inquire what the theme, the concept of the manor is. "I want to know what this is about!" exclaims an increasingly exasperated Amelia-Jane. Miss Hunter replies: "Wheatley Manor is about you." As I said, there are far wittier, funnier lines in the film, but this one is awesome nonetheless. Ominous, ambiguous, and encapsulating the whole film, in a way.

Nice Psychological Touch:
The whole concept of "self-improvement through unorthodox methods" is a psychologically nice idea to begin with. It isn't exactly new in the realm of spanking videos, but I've never seen it done in quite this form before, and rarely with such well-written characters. It is obvious that Stephen Lewis tailor-made all the parts specifically and affectionately for the four actresses: Niki as the shy, awkward girl, Leia as the enigmatic, slightly freaky, but loveable one, Amelia-Jane as the headstrong princess and Amy as the head girl of sorts. They all pretty much appear "as themselves" here (or rather, as their public personas, half-real and half-fictional). From start to finish, "Wheatley Manor" lives from these contrasting, at times clashing personalities, and from the interpersonal dynamics.

There is a great, extended scene at the beginning which I liked in particular. One after the other (first Leia, then Niki, then Amelia-Jane), the girls visit the office of Professor Lewis, to get a welcome talk (and a welcome caning). Each time, what goes on inside the office is juxtaposed with the whispered conversation between the two girls who remain outside and listen in on what is happening. It is a wonderfully written and edited sequence, and stylistically interesting (they use subtitles for the whispered conversation, with different colours for the three characters, patterned after the colours of the ribbons they are wearing). Most importantly, though, it does a great job of bringing out the individual personalities, introducing the past histories of the characters and setting the stage for everything that is about to follow.

How Good Is It Really?
"Wheatley Manor" has immediately established itself as one of my favourite spanking films. In terms of action, it isn't all that spectacular, actually - Leia's welcome caning and the last scene with Amy Hunter getting her comeuppance from the other three girls are very hot indeed, but the other spankings are merely good, not great. As a film, however, this one stands on a level that very few others reach. The craftsmanship is good, the writing is excellent and the cast is outstanding (certainly the best ensemble performance I have reviewed so far). There are funny moments, sexy moments, dark moments, and it all blends well because of the setting - most films that have one ballet lesson scene and one interrogation scene would probably feel artificial, but they fit together organically here. The result is a three hour epic that captivates during (almost) every second.

In addition to the main feature, "Wheatley Manor" includes a bonus disc with 92 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, outtakes, interviews with all the main collaborators and an alternate ending.

What You Learned:
I liked Stephen Lewis as a top when I saw him on Northern Spanking and Bars and Stripes, but he never figured that high on my radar as a writer. Now he does.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mood Pictures Raided By Police

Under normal circumstances, I would now finally get on with the third and last part of the story about Kaelah's first spanking. However, we decided to delay it again - this time, because of current events in the spanking video world.

As many of you will know already, the studio of Mood Pictures, the Hungarian CP film producer about whom I have written a fair bit already on this blog, was raided by the police on the weekend of January 23rd / 24th. Fourteen people were arrested at the scene, three of them now face charges. The accusation is that, at a movie shoot in early January, they ignored a model who was repeatedly safewording, asking them to stop a scene, and continued to beat her. Mood Pictures deny these charges. There will now very probably be a court case against them.

I've been reviewing Mood's videos for years, I have an email correspondence with Pedro (one of the founders and producers) that goes back to 2004, and I even guest starred in one of their videos once, my first professional CP film. I repeatedly and in good faith defended them against urban legends about abuse (I was critical of a few points, too, like the inaccuracy of their tops). So, needless to say, I take these news very seriously indeed. In recent days, I also got a truckload of reader emails: why is the Mood website down? Are the rumours about a police raid true? Do I know anything about it?

To start with the third question: no, I didn't know anything until Tom Rohwer, who runs the German-language BDSM news site Art Noir, contacted me last Wednesday. I hadn't even noticed that Mood's site was down. So I first heard about the story in the news, like everyone else, I suppose. I've been in contact with a few people ever since - among other things, trying to get an accurate translation of the original Hungarian article(s). On Sunday, I got an email from Pedro, who denies the accusations. I will quote some passages from it below.

First off, though, the version given by the Hungarian media and the police. I'm going to take a look at both sides of the story here, as accurately and as unbiased as possible.

The police version

At this early stage, it is still difficult to separate fact from fiction. The story broke in the Hungarian newspapers on January 27th, and the translations I read so far contradict each other in at least one key point. It also seems that there is some confusion in the original articles themselves - which wouldn't be surprising, given that the average journalist, like the average vanilla person, doesn't know a whole lot about BDSM, and even less about the extreme forms practiced by Mood.

For instance, one English translation given by Adele Haze on her blog (written by Krampus) says that the woman who complained to the police was the spankee in the scene in question - the alleged victim herself. However, Tom Rohwer, in his synopsis of the same article, says that the woman who complained had been hired as a domme. Obviously this is a very important detail! After exchanging some emails with both Krampus and Tom, I tend to believe that the version by Krampus is the correct one - that the woman was hired as a spankee, not as a domme. But it is one example among others where the facts of the matter aren't quite clear yet.

Anyway, here is the story given in the Hungarian media, as best as I currently understand it (when I use quotes, I am quoting the translation by Krampus):

A woman in dire financial straits replied to an advertisement in a newspaper about a nude modelling job. She was told that it would be a BDSM video shoot, but she claims that the producers lied to her when they told her that she would only be hit lightly and that she would mostly pretend to be in pain. (Obviously, this is a serious accusation in itself - if true, it would mean that her consent was not really informed consent to begin with.)

At the shoot, she was thrashed by another woman with a cane, a whip and "a wide plastic thing" (it might be a reference to a strap, or a paddle). Beforehand, they had agreed on a safeword ("Stop it, I beg you, my lord!") which she would use if she wanted to stop the scene. However, when it got too much for her and she used the safeword, she was begging in vain - the producer took over and continued the scene to the end, beating the woman until she was bleeding.

She wrote an anonymous letter to the police afterwards, but included her cell phone number so that she could be identified. The police claim that they had received similar complaints about this producer in the past. So, they observed the studio for a couple of days, and then, during another shoot, they struck. A special police task force stormed the building (there is TV footage of the special forces team, wielding submachine guns). They arrested everyone at the scene - including the models, apparently. Three people were later charged with "violations of personal freedom" and "causing bodily harm". At the moment, the police are conducting a large-scale investigation about possible other cases where actresses were beaten and abused against their will during the BDSM shoots.

A few other issues are mentioned in the reports, such as the nurse employed by Mood to provide medical aftercare for the models, or the question of whether such videos are legal in Hungary in the first place (what level of injury can one legally consent to?). However, the most serious accusation is obviously the one that the woman's pleas to stop the scene were ignored, and the implication that there might have been other, similar cases before.

The Mood Pictures version

In the email I received from Pedro last Sunday, he denies this accusation. He has no objections against me posting it here. I am quoting verbatim - Pedro's English may not be perfect (it's better than my Hungarian for sure), but you can understand what he means, and I wanted to leave the text unaltered so that everyone can read it as an original, first-hand source:

“As you know, during the [recent] photo shot for mood-art the studio was raided with a lot of policemen (commando stile), and all of us was arrested, handcuffed. We did not know why.”

“Only after keeping us in for 10-12 hours, were we told that a girl went into the police three days after the last ElitePain shooting, telling that she was not let to quit a scene, and was forced to do it (which is obviously not true).”

“The police does everything to find evidence against us, the media showed only [reports about] us for a couple of days. You can guess the comments of the vanillas. For example: When the police raided the studio, we were doing a photo set, where a girl was bound, and placed in a big box. The media showed the photo like we were holding there kidnapped girls in boxes.”

“This will be a very long process I think. And I don’t think we will do anything like Mood in the future. So I think Mood Pictures is over.”

“That’s what I can tell you at the moment. It will be good news for many [who don't like our videos], I think.”

Pedro added that I should feel free to report what he wrote, but that he doesn't have the energy for an extended correspondence under the current circumstances. I wrote him another mail with some questions (such as, what about the accusation that the woman had been lied to about the severity of the beatings?), but have not received a reply yet. I will keep you updated about any important news I get out of Hungary, from both sides.

The debate so far - reason vs. hyperbole

Needless to say, if the accusations against Mood turn out to be true, it would be very sad and sombering news indeed - especially for people like me who have defended them in the past. On the other hand, I have seen enough awful, sensationalist reporting over the years to take everything that is written in the mainstream press about BDSM videos with a very large grain of salt. Producers who did far more harmless stuff than Mood have become the targets of over-eager police investigations in the past, and had their lives and reputations ruined by the accompanying media furore. So one will have to wait and see. I think we will only get a clear picture of what really happened when the court case is over, if ever.

In the meantime, the debate in our own kinky community will probably develop along predictable lines. Mood Pictures and their sister sites (Mood Castings, Elite Pain, etc.) have polarised fans of CP erotica like very few other producers. In part, this polarisation was actively sought by Mood themselves, in their constant quest (over the top, in my opinion) to promote themselves as the company making "The Most Brutal Spanking Videos in the World", exclamation mark. That is now backfiring on them. People who never liked Mood because of the extreme nature of their videos, or because they employed vanilla models, or whatever, will take the current events as confirmation that they were always right. On the other hand, people like me, who were fans and who had a personal correspondence with Mood, will be more skeptical about the accusations. As much as one tries to be objective, I think it's hard not to be a little biased one way or the other, simply because there have been so many debates about Mood already and because the old positions are fairly well-entrenched.

That said, the recent discussion on Adele's blog (to which I contributed as well) was very civil and matter-of-fact. Which goes to show you, once again, that intelligent blogs attract intelligent audiences. Even the commenters who strongly dislike Mood voiced their opinions in a calm, non-insulting manner, and I've always respected that (even though the vitriol-laden tirades can be fun, in their way, too - my favourite insults so far, directed at me because of my own participation in a Mood video, are "sociopath", "true Teutonic demagogue" and "sick, sick man").

I expect the debate at Adele's to remain the exception to the rule, though. Call me pessimistic, but I'm in my 30's and I'm old enough to know that, whenever the forces of reason and hysteria clash, hysteria will inevitably win in the end - at least on the grand stage. People will believe anything. Especially when it's crass and sensationalist and they read it in a newspaper somewhere, because then, it must obviously be true.

I'll give you just one example which I saw this week: this Hungarian article about Mood, in the translation by Krampus (which I believe to be the most accurate so far), mentions that "medicines and painkillers" were found in the building. It is my understanding that these were sometimes given to models after a shoot, by the nurse which Mood always employed. In another translation of the same article, this becomes "drugs and painkillers". In a third version I saw, building on the second one, it becomes just "drugs". And voilà, I've already seen the first thread on a spanking forum somewhere, where a poster mutters darkly about how "drugs were found on the premises", making it sound as if Mood were dealing in crack and cocaine as well. This is how I expect the debate to develop, in most places.

All that as it may be, the question that really matters is: will the accusations made by this model against Mood (more precisely, against Elite Pain) turn out to be true? I'll write down my thoughts on that in the next post, along with my thoughts on some related, general issues like consent, legality and safety, and a look back on my own experiences during the "Inmates" shoot. For today, I just wanted to give you both sides of the recent news, from the police / the mainstream media and from Pedro, without much comment from myself. The original sources, so to speak. It should be enough for a lively discussion already, and it will enlighten those among my readers who hadn't heard about the story yet.