Sexpo UK Report
After the sad and curious loss of Erotica at the end of 2013, London had a notable annual absence of a sex-themed expo for trade and consumers alike to enjoy. It’s taken a couple of years, but the UK finally has a replacement: the aptly named Sexpo.
Sexpo isn’t a completely new venture, having enjoyed several successful shows around the world such as the US and Australia. November 2015 was the turn of the UK’s capital, and London welcomed Sexpo wholeheartedly and hoped we had a worthy predecessor to the much-missed Erotica show.
Darren and I travelled down to London midday Friday, with some traffic delays meaning we checked into our hotel at 4.40pm and walked to Sexpo making it through the doors at just gone 5pm. The show was held at London Olympia, the same location as some Erotica shows in the past, so a comparison was even more inevitable for those who attended the previous sex expo in years gone by. As Darren and I had been sent our passes via email to print at home, entry to the event was hassle-free with our tickets scanned, names ticked off the press list and our wrists adorned with a Sexpo branded paper bracelet.
Travelling from Lincs to London
Arriving at Olympia London
Walking into the event, the place was bustling with people already. The large space was well lit and covered with similar shell stands to the ETO Show and other adult trade expos. The main difference? The area was full of members of the general public enjoying the atmosphere, the stands, the plentiful bars, food and refreshment areas as well as the several shows on the main stage to one end of the hall. Before I could set out and explore properly, I needed to head to one of these refreshment areas, a small café near the entrance, for a meeting arranged prior to the show. I was slightly late due to traffic but my client was very understanding and even bought D and I coffees (sooo needed).
After an engaging and interesting chat –about half an hour- we parted company and D and I set off to find the Dirty Sexy Words stand which talented erotic author Sallyanne Rogers was hosting. After an hour of hugs and more conversations with my amazing industry friends and colleagues en route (about 20 metres!) we finally made it. Sallyanne was accompanied by Innocent Loverboy and Helen J Perry who were ably assisting on this book sales and erotic author promotion area. I had a rucksack full of flyers, posters and business cards to hand off, and once I’d unloaded the goods we set to having a proper chat.
— Sallyanne Rogers (@DSWSallyanne) November 14, 2015
The Dirty Sexy Words stand
The rest of the evening was spent enjoying wandering the large, well-lit and (thankfully) well ventilated and air-conditioned space, where I met amongst many others:
Kerri at the Simply Pleasure stand
Kirsty from ETO Magazine attending the Sexpo goody bags stall
Will from Doxy Massager (D is thrilled with his mini Doxy pendant – so is the miniature sex toy collecting Storm Trooper!)
Rachael Mccoy from Inspiring Sexuality
Mia More from Cliterati – so lovely to hook up again and have a far too brief chat, you’re amazing! Loved our moment under the Luvvu Mirror..
Claire and the team from Rouge Garments
Caz and all the lovely Estim Systems electro sex toys team
All the gorgeous pups from Puppy Pride UK
The Electrastim team
Photo courtesy of Simply Pleasure
One of the main attractions of the show was Pricasso, who was offering portraits of visitors with a surprising twist. Perhaps twist is an unfortunate choice of term. Pricasso paints with his penis! There he stood, stark naked but for a big pink hat and a multi coloured, well shaved penis. Brilliant.
During the walkabout there were various shows on the main stage. Burlesque, music, cabaret, kink, fashion, fire and comedy.
We were delighted to be in the audience for a couple of the shows – Rayguns Look Real Enough , a musical comedy duo with a hilarious act coupled with some genuine guitar and vocal talent, and Pyrohex, an all girl fire show which was an unforgettable visual spectacle.
Our compere for the evening was the crowd-pleasing Radio One King of Cabaret, Desmond O’Connor.
The Sexpo hall was also home to various porn and adult movie stars including the curvaceous and smiling Tanya Tate and Lindsey Dawn McKenzie – who were very popular and always swamped with fans and press when we walked by. Also in attendance but at a much emptier booth was Farrah Abraham, who was apparently happy to be there but had forgotten to tell her face.
We’d made plans for Friday evening with Horny Geek Girl and Just Indecerous, involving their hotel room, some takeout, wine and chat into the small hours, so we finished our conversations, disentangled ourselves from all the hugs and made our escape from the excitement. We planned to return the next day for more spice and sensation.
On my way out I bumped into Lil Miss Shalla and we had a brief chat and hug before she disappeared for fun with the Sexpo crowd.
The night carried on for us in a comparatively relaxing manner, with wine and food and chat and hugs as planned. D and I eventually got back to our own hotel and bed at not too late an hour, and hoped for a restful night before day two of Sexpo.
Unfortunately, a family emergency meant we had to leave early Saturday morning and return home. This was a real shame and I’m incredibly sad about it – I was hoping to meet up with the Liberator team, Nigel from Give Lube and chat to Creative Conceptions, Sh Women’s Store, Kinkcraft, Lady Bellatrix, Dom Strap On and Miss Hamilton on Saturday and Sunday. There were all the other shows I missed too! Sadly it was not to be this time but I hope everyone enjoyed a brilliant Sexpo and I look forward to reading the other detailed reports from days two and three.
Just a couple of minor niggles with this event.
I really dislike paper bracelets as event entry passes. Lanyards are much preferred. The reason being, I can take a lanyard off at the end of the day when I want a relaxing bath or shower – with one of these woven/paper bracelet things, despite being surprisingly resilient, I always worry that they’re going to disintegrate on me or just literally fall or be ripped off. I can understand that the event organisers want to make sure every person with a ticket is the same actual person who enters the event (avoiding lanyard swapping for multiple entries) but for press especially a lanyard would be preferable.
This would also avoid the second slight issue I found once in the event; being pounced and harangued as if I were a customer while walking past stands (not that this should happen to customers either). There were several ‘boutique photography’ businesses exhibiting, and attempting to stop people in their tracks as they walked past with a fairly pushy “can we interest you in a boudoir shoot?!” and thrusting a leaflet in faces. Upon stating that no, I did not, and carrying on walking, one company called after me down the aisle. I assume it wasn’t complimentary. I also assume this wouldn’t have happened if it was clear I was press and that this experience was going to make it on to the internet. I have kept the company in question anonymous so that hopefully they can learn from their mistake – but to be honest this isn’t an experience anyone attending Sexpo would want or deserve to have.
Thanks Sexpo UK and all involved for an enjoyable event, it was well managed and organised, air con gratefully received as was the large spacious venue for exhibitors, shows and visitors alike. It will be interesting to see whether Sexpo finds lasting success in the UK where the Erotica show did not.