“Me too. Well, we’re out and about now. Nando’s?”
“Yeah, why not?”
This is only the third time I’ve ever been to Camden. It’s the prevailing thought in my mind as we swerve through throngs of Friday night revelers. There’s a sweet scent coming from everywhere.
I’m on the look-out for people we know. We get to the hotel, and as I wait for him to get back from the bathroom, someone spots me. A tall, redheaded vision of stunning – it takes me a few seconds to realise that it’s Rose, who I haven’t seen in several years. She bolts towards me, and we hug exactly like that, like old friends meeting again.
The three of us kind of hang on to each other for most of the night. A bit of familiarity. A lot of new faces. But it’s okay, because it’s one hell of a nice venue to get to know new faces in.
I get the chance to properly connect with Marvy Darling. I bond with Sarah Brynn Holliday over our shared and very intense love of bread. I get to squeeze fellow film geek Cheryl again. I find a geek sister in Emmeline Peaches, stare in wonder at Gryph’s magnificent beard and get bought a drink by Mr. Doxy himself. All in a room with a jaw-droppingly stunning view of Camden Lock’s shimmering waters.
By the time we scatter out – some of us off to an after party, some of us (and by that I mean me and ILB) off to Subway because we accidentally forgot food was a thing, I feel kind of lightheaded.
Eroticon. Yeah, baby, yeah!
It feels weird to be so aware of a clock ticking by. I know that at some point I need to leave because I have my day job to tend to. So Saturday isn’t a day where I can relax into it. But I learn so much. Oh god, do I ever.
The Sex and the Mainstream Media panel (chaired wonderfully by Girl on the Net) is a great way to kick things off – and I come away from it tickled by the flame of inspiration for the first time in weeks. Sarah Brynn Holliday’s Sex Blogging as Feminism & Social Justice session takes that tickle even further and proper ignites something, as does Malin James’s flash fiction session.
Although that one does start with me running up to Malin to tell her that I need to leave midway through her session and also please don’t think me rude but day job and also lovely to meet you, person whose writing I fucking love and have also been published alongside a few times.
So yeah. I have to leave halfway through – although I leave with Malin’s kind reassurance that she’s putting the presentation up on her blog later – and switch gears to “work mode”. Which, actually, works fine. And so does the switch back to “Eroticon mode” when ILB shows up at the end of my shift to take me to the gorgeous venue for the Saturday night entertainment.
I eat chips with curry sauce and chat to Ros Ballinger, who later brings the house down with her fantastic show Idiot’s Guide to Kink. I catch up with Rubyyy Jones after A FUCKING AGE, finally getting a chance to tell her in person that I’ve been following her work from afar and am so happy to know her. Chris Coltrane MC’s the night and makes me properly snort laugh several times.
I do my best to ignore the scratching in my throat.
This time, I don’t forget breakfast exists. And I still keep
meeting new people – finding myself at the table with fellow geek Val Prozorova is a delight – while discovering more about the other new people I’ve met. And the sessions… oh, the sessions.
At Dr. Kate Lister’s session, I feel seen somehow. I sit in the front row, feverishly taking notes and pictures. I feel like an academic even though I am most definitely not.
At Jasmine and King’s session, I am shocked time and time again as they lay bare not just the level of racism in porn, but the blasé attitude that many white performers and producers seem to take when confronted about it.
During lunch (thanks, Chaturbate!) I swerve around in the hall and take in chats with the Fuck.com guys, the Hot Octopuss gang (it is here that I get a sneak preview of their upcoming Queen Bee toy – HOLY SHIT the vibrations) and the lovely Victoria Blisse who I haven’t seen in however-long. Afterwards, I sit front row for the pitching session and once again become acutely aware of time ticking by.
The last session I attend (on using your blog to educate) sends me back to work with a full-on fire in the belly – and even though I don’t really get the chance to do the rounds and say goodbye (thankfully, I do get the chance to give himself a quick hug and a “see you at home”) I feel okay. Walking through Camden, the watery and hesitant sunshine casting everything in an awesome glow, I feel okay.
And right then, okay is fine by me because I’ve spent a long time not feeling okay. I’ll take okay as a starter.
The rest will come.
Eroticon. Fuck yeah.
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