After its absence from the London erotic scene in 2012, Erotica came back this year at Tobacco Dock, with a blend of kinky and raunchy adventure.
A different location didn't discourage the public or the exhibitors from participating. Tobacco Dock, situated in South East London, right next to Tower Bridge, provided a most unusual venue for the show.
A labyrinth of vaulted glassed areas serving as exhibition space and shops, on two floors, was packed with erotic enthusiasts as well as newcomers, who seemed eager to discover the world of Erotica.
As long standing advocates of quality fetish, Fetish Map London has had a place at Erotica for many years. However, this year saw a greater fetish presence than before. Maybe this is a sign that Erotica is crossing a new frontier, providing more different adventure into the kinky world.
Our stall was tucked into a corner in one of the rooms of the venue, and although we had great surroundings, some of the shy visitors appeared too timid to approach us. Seeing Fetish Map, big and bold, was enough for some to do a U turn. This only tells me that minds still need to be more opened to the endless opportunities and adventure the erotic world has to offer; they need to stretch their horizon further in their quest for thrills and titillation. But those were a very few. For the majority, their wide eyed faces was proof that they were very happy to have found a new source of kinky inspiration.
"A map of all things fetish and burlesque in London? Wow, what a great idea!"
"Thanks for doing this, I hope you continue for a long time, this is amazing!"
"How long have you been going? I wish I had known about you before today, but I'm glad I've found you now!"
These are a minuscule amount of responses to the Maps from the visitors, and extremely satisfying to hear.
The fetish milieu seems to be gaining more ground at Erotica and this has to be encouraged. Not that we want to convert everybody, but the public needs to know that fetish is so much more than BDSM. Visitors should have access to the whole range of the kinky world, in order to experiment and understand what else could turn them on.
With London Alternative Market (LAM) organising some of the shows, the crowd was exposed to a whole new world. From fetish fashion shows to 'pony girls and boys' and bondage workshops, I do recognise that fetish is not for everybody. But the problem is that the majority of people have a mistaken view of what fetish is. As in all fields, fetish has various levels, from foot fetish, bedroom bondage and play, latex fashion, to the more hardcore sado-masochism, this world has something for everybody.
Exploring new avenues, new thrills is part of any couple's sexual life, or so it should be. We merely want them to open their mind slowly, softly, to the multitude of possibilities away from the ever monotonous high street sex shops.
We like to think that many timid visitors went away knowing that it is safe to experiment further, in the safety of their own homes, and that our Maps open the door to new places, new stimulation, and new excitement.
But fetish isn't our only pursuit or the only guide we publish. The Burlesque Map London is our other product, so we were delighted to see a major representation of this world at Erotica. To me, the main attraction was Ophelia Bitz, a famous name in burlesque, whose kinky, and somewhat risqué register shows true creativity while remaining in the realm of burlesque. Her unique style as compère adds saucy, bawdy cabaret flavour to the bland and uniform style some performers can showcase.
Other great acts on stage at Erotica came from Marnie Scarlet, a fetish latex, wonderfully original performer, Missy Macabre with her freak show and fire act, and Karis Wilde, the amazingly bendy hula hoop performer.
In conclusion, Erotica 2013 seemed to be a success among most visitors and exhibitors, who enjoyed the new venue. While others missed the feel of a big hall, the open plan venue where all is exposed overtly, and everything can be found without having to look for it.
We all know that it is impossible to please everybody, so let's give Tobacco Dock a chance, and be happy that a new venue can be explored without losing the feel of the message.
Erotica 2013 is over, let's look forward to what the next one will bring us.
TAKE A LOOK AT THE MAP - www.fetishmap.co.uk
Photography by James Drury
|Fetish Map London & Burlesque Map London stand at Erotica 2013 - Tobacco Dock|