Report: Cara Sutra at The Erotica Show London 2013
The stimulation sensation that was the Erotica Show 2013 will live on in my memory as a spectacular array of wanton wizardry, lavish lighting, sexy stalls and shows produced with attention to detail, a sense of humour and a reassuring finesse.
Saturday came around quickly after the mad run up through last week. Friday was the first day of the Erotica Show in Tobacco Dock London, but I visited Saturday and hopped down for the day then back up to my home in Lincolnshire again after the day event ended at about 9pm.
Driven down to London (and thankfully not completely round the bend quite yet) by slave minnie, I wore comfortable attire, planning to change into something more suited to an erotic show once I was nearer the location. Coffee on the way, then a stop at the Ibis near Canary Wharf for something stronger and the use of their bathrooms as a changing room.
Going from modest dress, tights and comfy ballet pumps to skin tight, wet look, black mini dress with lace up thigh areas and 6 inch sole, stompy Demonia boots was dramatic enough, but as it turns out I couldn’t wear any underwear with the dress either, skin tight as it was. So there I was, about to visit The Erotica Show 2013, in central London, planning to read the sauciest smut imaginable over at Lucy Felthouse’s Smut by the Dock stand, with no knickers on.
Luckily I had a full length leather coat so I travelled the rest of the way looking merely like a flasher.
We made our way to Tobacco Dock where the Erotica Show was held this year. It started at 12 noon but carried on til late. On previous occasions it had been at Olympia, with no show at all in 2012. This year saw the start of a new style Erotica Show, in a new location. Nerve racking for the event planners and managers no doubt, but as it happens, they had no need to worry.
The hired car park for the event was a multi storey, and we were directed to it by one of the Erotica hired staff for the day, standing by the roadside. Very friendly and welcoming and we weren’t even inside yet. Parking up, we were pleased that parking had been booked beforehand (online and printed at home) making for a hassle free start to the event.
Walking the short distance to the Erotica Show entrance around the corner, it seemed that the show itself was magnetic, somehow. Crowds were flocking to the banner embellished gates, streaming through the gates and to the doors from every direction. As I was taking photos from even before parking up the car, it was imperative that I sought out my press pass as soon as possible. Photography isn’t usually permitted at the Erotica Show, due to the exclusive nature of the adult product stands as well as the adult industry celebrities in attendance and the private stage shows.
Through the ‘pre-booked tickets’ door I stalked, minnie in tow, to immediately spy the large, glass office suitably labelled as the Press Office. Making my way inside I bounded up to Lee Schofield, of both the Erotica Show and ETO Magazine teams, and we quickly caught up on events since the magnificent ETO Show back in June. It was a shame Dale & the others couldn’t also be at the Erotica Show, it would have been lovely to have a chinwag with more of the ETO team.
Meeting Lisa Gilbride at the Erotica Show press desk for the first time, I was handed the press pass for minnie and myself and given a brief rundown of proceedings. I also obtained a couple of Erotica Show programmes, this full colour, glossy, professional publication usually priced at £9 for visitors. The programme contains a floor plan, sex tips, company introductions and show details as well as fun articles and quizzes.
Ditching my long coat in the corner of the press office, feeling comfortable enough in this familiar adult environment to be immodestly attired, I was ready to ‘do the show.’ I’d catch up with Lee, Lisa and the Erotica Show team later. I had to hunt down the Smut by the Dock stand and organise when I was going to read out some smut to the masses!
Upon hearing that I was visiting the Erotica Show this year, Lucy Felthouse had kindly invited me to be a part of the stand she’d arranged, along with Victoria Blisse. A cameo appearance perhaps, given that my dealings with the erotic publishing world are mainly from a promotional perspective rather than for my personal writings. I retain a strong connection with Xcite Books, having won their Best Sex Blog award in 2012. I also enjoy a great working relationship with many of the publishing houses that my favourite erotic authors write for, including Cleis Press, Totally Bound, Mills & Boon and Black Lace.
So it was that I once more stalked (as much as you can stalk in stompy boots) through the crowds and headed for Lucy and Victoria’s Smut by the Dock Stand, opposite Television X. Oh the sea of familiar, friendly faces! Not only was Lucy there, I greeted and chatted with KD Grace and Kay Jaybee as well as many other erotic authors at the stand, not all of whom I recognised, I’m ashamed to say. They’re quite a shy bunch, erotica authors, for writing such filthy words, you know.
The Smut by the Dock stand not only gave customers and those in the industry a chance to meet the authors, ask questions and hear readings but also to buy some of the wonderful books that these authors have worked so hard and long (stop making your own jokes) to write.
The other authors around on the day were Kristina Lloyd, Toni Sands, L C Wilkinson, Aoife Brennan, Zak Jane Keir and Ashe Barker.
I read an excerpt from Kay Jaybee’s The Wife short story, as featured in Cleis Press’ Twice the Pleasure edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. An anthology of bisexual women’s erotica, the excerpt was suitably and satisfyingly hot, with heavy and dramatic girl on girl sex and dumping me right in the deep end of reading aloud to an audience. With a mic. And no knickers on.
After my reading I bid a temporary farewell to the authors and little amassed crowd and sought out the We Vibe and Bondara stands. Sponsors of the Erotica Show, their stands were actually more like rooms, to the right hand side as you first enter the Tobacco Dock venue. Through the door to each room we were greeted by a mini ‘shop’ experience, where visitors could browse a range of the company’s products and even buy sex toys and more to take away there and then.
We Vibe showcased the brand new We Vibe 4, the Erotica Show 2013 being the only place you could buy a We Vibe 4 right now. It’s due to hit distributors and stockists in the coming weeks. I’ll be nabbing one to review shortly, I can’t wait to share my experiences and feedback.
After speaking with Denny Alexander, Marketing Communications Manager of We Vibe, I started a special twitter competition campaign for the day. Ending at 4pm Saturday, a lucky follower could win 2 VIP entry passes to not only the Erotica Show that day and the next, but the Winter Ball and evening events too!
Bondara didn’t spare any expense with their lavish presentation, which was complemented by a raunchy array of boys and girls looking decidedly sexy in hot pants. The girls wore tops with their hotpants… the boys didn’t. I misread the Bondara logo as ‘Bottom’ many times throughout the day, due to where I was reading it from a lot of the time.
Speaking to Kevin from Bondara I was filled in with the latest company news, including how busy they’d already been at the event and how it looked set to continue throughout Saturday and Sunday.
As I moved around the event, I saw many different stalls and stands, with different types of products than at other b2b and trade shows such as EroFame in Germany a couple of weeks ago. The offering at the Erotica Show seemed more local, intimate, consumer based and gave customers the chance to sample bespoke products. Although these are mostly higher in price the quality is definitely there, and for those seeking the perfect, luxurious Christmas gift they wouldn’t be disappointed. That’s if they had the spare cash, of course.
Cocoa London laid out a selection of hand crafted, 24ct gold plated sex toys including dildos and butt plugs. Some had interchangeable handles and heads, making them versatile. Laid in a foam insert in a beautifully designed wooden box, these are truly the sex toys of either a toy newbie or veteran’s dreams. With prices of the items at the show set at between £4-600, they’re not for paupers; however the prices aren’t as high as this gold LELO dildo.
A special purchase indeed. Surprisingly I didn’t walk away with a sample to test and review. Perhaps it was because minnie didn’t look strong enough to carry a gold dildo. Perhaps it was my casual mention of a cash-for-Gold envelope. Who knows.
Opposite Cocoa London were specialist leather manufacturers, crafting beautiful intimate items of fetish wear such as top quality collars, harnesses and restraints. I don’t mean the usual, Chinese or Indian mass manufactured, £10-15 items; I’m talking about a £100+ slave collar presented in a gift box and treasured for many years to come. This company is called Master’s Desire and has an atmosphere of style and sophistication.
ID Lubricants (Creative Conceptions) was familiar territory, with displays occupied by Screaming O buzzies, Monogamy couples board games, fun kinky bits, ‘naughty’ sex accessories, more lube than you could wag a dry finger at and every shade of grey packaging for bondage beginners you could dream of.
It took me about 3 or 4 walks past the ElectraStim stand to finally capture 5 minutes of busy Hella Rude’s time… that girl was working it! With brand new products added to the range (such as the paddle which works with the ElectraStim Flick EM-60 and other electrosex units) as well as new website development in the works, the ElectraStim stand was shockingly busy. (Sorry.)
Hella was lovely, as was CEO Andy Smith. It was at this stand that I apparently narrowly missed out on meeting Alis Addiction, I wish you’d just hollered at me! Hopefully next time. You were too busy buying ElectraLoops, I think you tweeted!
I was caught by a gentleman as I was walking past; who, it transpires, works at the Vanity Studios in London. Sadly, I couldn’t take him up on his offer of a heavily discounted shoot as I have my own photographer, also I don’t live by London. However he was a very friendly chap and this set of modern studios in London promises any style of studio shoot you desire, as well as highly professional equipment, props and backdrops.
Other stands of note as I was walking around were:
The Kinksters Adult Store – a large range of fetish equipment and clothing
Platinum Stages – whereupon I was asked to pole dance and instead I just Charleston danced in stompy boots as I’m not much of a pole dancer. At least not while commando in a mini dress and pretty sober. The stage was up to the challenge though and survived the experience, so did the audience.
Faux Real Tees – this fun company offer t-shirts which have friendly designs on and not just for adults but for kids too. Imagine my delight at a show where they have something I’d put my kids in (no mention of cages, please)! There are adult tees that look like shirts and ties but also baby vests and t-shirts in cowboy styles, mechanic, suited and much more.
Thunder Toffee Vodka – what’s not to like? Sampled a taste and it’s gorgeous. Couldn’t snaffle a freebie, unsurprisingly. I need to get into vodka reviewing, obviously. 😉
Vape Emporium Ltd – these non-nicotine smokes didn’t interest me at first. In fact upon seeing the stand I thought it was yet another display of room aromas, and then e-cigs. In fact I ended up trying out the Vape smokes, which tastes of the fruity essence within, which is no more harmful than anything you find in other sexual products such as lube. They didn’t burn my throat and had no aftertaste, anything more than water would. I think they would be a wonderful alternative to normal cigarettes, particularly from a fetish aspect, for subs desiring a smoking Master, Mistress or session from a Top or Dominant who doesn’t smoke.
Art Gallery – displaying much erotic art, plenty of which I’d love to have on my bedroom walls.
I was heading down to the fashion stage when I caught sight of another familiar face. Madison Hughes of the Sex, Shopping and Chocolate blog. After the introductions and chatter we headed through the crowds and enjoyed a more fetish experience than the more retail aspects of upstairs.
Contesse de Seirion and Gemma Equine blew all onlookers away with a full on pony girl exhibit, where Gemma was in full pony garb including bit and ears and the Contesse was either pulled around in the cart or was attending to her pony. I almost asked if she’d like to be petted but my eye was taken by the exhibit next door. The Dog’s BolloXX and Puppy Pride!
I was watching out for Puppy Pride in particular as I find the furry scene in fetish quite intriguing and curious. I have no desire to be a pet for a Dominant, beyond any bedroom and sex based ‘wearing ears and being stroked’ sessions, but the full on, fully dressed pets in this area called to my Mistress side.
Two male ‘puppies’ in latex puppy outfits, complete with dog mask/hoods were having pictures taken with their owner/trainer. Madison, her friends, minnie and I watched throughout the spectacle and then enjoyed petting the puppies after the photos. An incredibly friendly, welcoming and open minded experience and definitely a highlight for me.
I also picked up a leaflet about the Fetch! event which is held on the first Saturday of the month at the Flying Dutchman, Camberwell, London. It’s a furry munch, where fetish puppies, kitties and other human pets can play, meet, chat, and be petted. Looks fun.
Walking back upstairs I parted ways with Madison and spotted the Peter and Pearce Functional Art stall. These body physique cabinets are absolutely beautiful and I’d love one! Carved from wood with velvet linings, the body shaped sculptures have push-to-open drawers and would be fab for either bullet vibrators, condoms, jewellery or anything else you might wish to keep on the bedside table or dressing table.
I must admit I skipped past the glamour zones as I am not really one for mainstream & vanilla porn, but there were representatives of the major adult TV channels in attendance, as well as a few (thankfully dressed) porn stars. Heading back upstairs we did catch a quick corridor spanking between two lucky fellows – the recipient certainly didn’t have bottom shyness!
Back at the Smut by the Dock stand and I had a brief interchange with Innocent LB and I think I spied Emma Whispers with him. Then who should walk past, but Annie Player and Hungry Joe! We’d not met for a couple of years, so it was fantastic to catch up again.
In fact much of the evening was spent in the company of Annie and Hungry Joe, giggling over a few tipples in the T-Girl bar and exchanging ideas and gossip. Much fun. We also talked about their new erotic directory and creative work site, Afterglow Art.
I was sad to miss the wonderful ABS Holdings and Simply Pleasure team at this event, particularly Sam Hewson who has always been a fantastic industry contact and friend.
All too soon it was the end of the day and I was back in the press office to collect my coat as well as armfuls of freebies and goodies. Including a We Vibe dressing gown that I’m over the moon about. See, easily pleased really. What is it about company merchandise that we love so much? Perhaps it’s the fact I have a fetish for night wear (ok, PJs) so a dressing gown is right up my street. Who knows.
On the way out I had a quick chat with Nicci Talbot of Rude Magazine with promises of more when we both have 5 minutes to stop and chat. Then that was it! Back to the car ready for an end of day comforting meal somewhere warm and cosy, before minnie drove me home to report back. Well, sleep and recover slightly, first.
My time at the Erotica Show 2013 passed, as usual, in a too fast blur. I went without any expectations, as there was no show last year and the venue and format has changed since previously. However I would definitely visit again and for consumers in particular, this is one of the events that shouldn’t be missed if you have any interest in the adult or erotic world.